But will you, O censor, act in this way when choosing the senate? Supposing there are many who have taken bribes to condemn an innocent man, will you not punish all of them, but will you pick as you choose, and select a few out of the many to brand with ignominy? Shall the senate then, while you see and know it to be the case, have a senator—shall the Roman people have a judge—shall the republic have a citizen, unmarked by any ignominy, who, to cause the ruin of an innocent man, has sold his good faith and religion for a bribe? And shall a man, who, being induced by a bribe, has deprived an innocent citizen of his country, his fortune, and his children, not be branded by the stigma of the censor's severity? Are you the prefect appointed to supervise our manners—are you a teacher of the ancient discipline and severity, if you either knowingly retain any one in the senate who is tainted with such wickedness, or if you decide that it is not right to inflict the same punishment on every one who is guilty of the same fault, or wild you establish the same principle of punishment with respect to the dishonesty of a senator in his peaceful capacity, which our ancestors chose to establish with respect to the cowardice of a soldier in time of war? Moreover, if this precedent ought to have been transferred from military affairs to the animadversion of the censors, at all events the system of drawing lots should have been retained. But if it is not consistent with the dignity of a censor to draw lots for punish meet, and to commit the guilt of men to the decision of fortune, it certainly cannot be right in the case of an offence committed by many, that a few should be selected for ignominy and disgrace.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF AULUS CLUENTIUS HABITUS.
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.