This, also, is a most honorable thing for me, O Romans, which I mentioned a few minutes ago,—that I am the first new man for many years on whom you have conferred this honour,—that you have conferred it on my first application, in my proper year. But yet nothing can be more splendid or more honourable for me than this circumstance,—that at the comitia at which I was elected you delivered not your ballot, 1 the vindication of your silent liberty, but your eager voices as the witnesses of your good-will towards, and zeal for me. And so it was not the last tribe of the votes, but the very first moment of your meeting,—it was not the single voices of the criers, but the whole Roman people with one voice that declared me consul.
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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.
1 Middleton says (with express reference to this passage,) “the method of choosing consuls was not by an open vote, but by a kind of ballot or little tickets of wood distributed to the citizens with the names of the candidates severally inscribed on each; but in Cicero's case, the people were not content with this secret and silent way of testifying their inclinations but before they came to any scrutiny, loudly and universally proclaimed Cicero the first consul; so that, as he himself declared in his speech to them after his election he was not chosen by the votes of particular citizens, but by the common suffrage of the city; nor declared by the voice of the crier, but of the whole Roman people.”
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