What was it, then, that influenced the censors? Even they themselves, if they were to allege the most serious reason that they could, would not say it was anything else beyond common conversation and report. They will say that they found out nothing by witnesses, nothing by documents, nothing by any important evidence, nothing, in short, from any investigation of the cause. If they had investigated it, still their sentence ought not to have been so fixed as to be impossible to be altered. I will not quote precedents, of which, however, there is an infinite number; I will not mention any old instance, or any powerful or influential man. Very lately, when I had defended an insignificant man, clerk to the aediles, Decius Matrinius, before Marcus Junius and Quintus Publicius, the praetors, and before Marcus Platorius and Caius Flaminius, the curule aediles, I persuaded them,—men sworn to do their duty,—to choose him for their secretary whom those same censors had made an aerarian; for as there was no fault found in the man, they thought that they ought to inquire what he deserved, and not what resolution had been come to respecting him.
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THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF AULUS CLUENTIUS HABITUS.
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