For there are two kinds of lands concerned, O Romans, in this purchase of the decemvirs. One of them the owners avoid on account of its unpopularity; the other on account of its miserable condition. The land seized and distributed by Sulla, and extended as far as possible by particular individuals, has so much unpopularity attached to it, that it cannot bear the rustle of a genuine fearless tribune of the people. All this land, at whatever price it is purchased, will be returned to you at a great price. There is another sort of lands—uncultivated on account of their barrenness, desolate and deserted on account of the unhealthiness of the situation—which will be bought of those men, who see that they must abandon them if they do not sell them. And in truth, that is what was said by this tribune of the people in the senate,—that the common people of the city had too much influence in the republic; that it must be drained off. For this is the expression which he used; as if he were speaking of some sewer, and not of a class of excellent citizens.
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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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