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2. [3]

And first of all I will answer Marcus Cato a man who directs his life by a certain rule and system and who most carefully weighs the motives of every duty about my own duty. Cato says it is not right that I who have been consul and the very passer 1 of the law of bribery and corruption and who behaved so rigorously in my own consulship should take up the cause of Lucius Murena and his reproach has great weight with me and makes me desirous to make not only you, O judges, whom I am especially bound to satisfy, but also Cato himself, a most worthy and upright man, approve the reasons of my action. By whom then, O Marcus Cato, is it more just that a consul should be defended than by a consul? Who can there be, who ought there to be, dearer to me in the republic, than he to whom the republic which has been supported by my great labours and dangers is delivered by me alone to be supported for the future? For if, in the demanding back things which may be alienated, he ought to incur the hazard of the trial who has bound himself by a legal obligation, surely still more rightly in the trial of a consul elect, that consul who has declared him consul ought most especially to be the first mover of the kindness of the Roman people, and his defender from danger.

[4] And if, as is accustomed to be done in some states, an advocate were appointed to this cause by the public, that man would above all others be assigned to one invested with honours as his defender, who having himself enjoyed the same honour, brought to his advocacy no less authority than ability. But if those who are being wafted from the main into harbour are wont with the greatest care to inform those who are sailing out of harbour, of the character of storms, and pirates, and of places, because nature prompts us to favour those who are entering on the same dangers which we have passed through, of what disposition ought I to be, who after having been much tossed about am now almost in sight of land, towards him by whom I see the greatest tempests of the republic about to be encountered? Wherefore, if it is the part of a virtuous consul not only to see what is being done, but to foresee what is likely to happen, I will show in another place how much it is for the interest of the common safety that there should be two consuls in the republic on the first of January. [5] And if that be the case, then it is not so much my duty which ought to summon me to defend the fortunes of a man who is my friend, as the republic which ought to invite the consul to the defence of the common safety.


1 There had been several previous laws against bribery and corruption (de ambitu). The Lex Acilia, passed B.C. 67, imposed a fine on the offending party, with exclusion from the senate and from all public offices. The Lex Tullia, passed in Cicero's consulship, added banishment for ten years; and, among other restrictions, forbade any one to exhibit gladiators within two years of his being a candidate, unless he was required to do so on a fixed day by a testator's will.

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