20. His department was that which we and all your friends desired for you; that namely, of deciding the law; a business in which the importance of the business transacted procures great credit for a man, and the administration of justice earns him popularity; for which department a wise praetor, such as Murena was, avoids giving offence by impartiality in his decisions, and conciliates good-will by his good temper in hearing the cases brought before him. It is a very creditable employment and very well adapted to gain a man the consulship, being one in which the praise of justice, integrity and affability is crowned at the last by the pleasure of the games which he exhibits.  What department was it that your lot gave you? A disagreeable and odious one. That of inquiry into peculation, pregnant on the one side with the tears and mourning apparel of the accused, full on the other side of imprisonment and informers. In that department of justice judges are forced to act against their will, are retained by force contrary to their inclination. The clerk is hated, the whole body is unpopular. The gratifications given by Sulla are found fault with. Many brave men,—indeed, a considerable portion of the city is offended; damages are assigned with severity. The man who is pleased with the decision soon forgets it; he who loses his cause is sure to remember it. Lastly, you would not go to your province. I cannot find fault with that resolution in you, which, both as praetor and consul, I have adopted in my own case. But still Lucius Murena's conduct in his province procured him the affection of many influential men, and a great accession of reputation. On his road he held a levy of troops in Umbria. The republic enabled him to display his liberality, which he did so effectually as to engage in his interest many tribes which are connected with the municipalities of that district. And in Gaul itself, he contrived by his equity and diligence to enable many of our citizens to recover debts which they had entirely despaired of. In the meantime you were living at Rome, ready to help your friends. I confess that—but still recollect this, that the inclinations of some friends are often cooled towards those men by whom they see that provinces are despised.
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THE ORATION OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF L. MURENA, PROSECUTED FOR BRIBERY.
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