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3. [6]

With what charges, then, O Laelius, do you attack my client being such a man as he is? He was in Cilicia a military tribune when Publius Servilius was the general; not a word is said about that. He was quaestor to Marcus Piso in Spain; not a word has been uttered about his quaestorship. He was present at the greater part of the Cretan war, and went through all its hardships in the company of that consummate general. The accusation is dumb with regard to this period. His discharge of his duties as judge during his praetorship,—a business of great intricacy, and affording numberless causes for suspicion and enmities, is not touched. Nay more, though it fell in a most critical and perilous time of the republic, it is praised even by his enemies. “Oh, but damaging evidence has been given against him.” Before I say by whom it was given, by what hopes, by what violence, by what means the witnesses were urged on, and what insignificant, needy, treacherous, audacious men they were, I will speak of their whole class, and of the condition in which all of us are placed. In the name of the immortal gods, O judges, will you ask of unknown witnesses in what way the man decided trials in Asia, who the year before had sat as judge at Rome? And will you yourselves form no conjectures on the subject? In a jurisdiction so various, many decrees were issued,—many desires of influential men were set at nought; and yet, what words, (I will not say of suspicion, for that is often false, but) of anger or indignation were ever once uttered against him? And is that man to be put on his trial for covetousness, who, when employed on a business affording numerous opportunities for such conduct, shunned all base gain,—who, in a city much given to evil speaking, and in an office surrounded with suspicion avoided, not only all accusation, but even a single hard name? I pass over points which I ought not to pass over that in his private affairs no covetous action, no eagerness about money matters, no sordid conduct in the management of his estate can be alleged against him. By what witnesses, then, can I refute these men except by you? [8] Shall that villager from near Tmolus,—a man not only a stranger to us, but not even known among his own neighbours,—teach you what sort of a man Lucius Flaccus is, whom you yourselves have known to be most modest as a youth, whom our most extensive provinces have found to be a most conscientious man and whom our armies know by experience to be a thoroughly brave soldier and vigilant general, and of a lieutenant and quaestor most moderate; whom you yourselves, being witnesses on the spot of his conduct, have judged to be a thoroughly wise and consistent senator, a most upright praetor, and a citizen wholly devoted to the republic.


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