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21. [43]

And since I have proved, O judges, that in this con-test for the consulship Murena had the same claims of worth that Sulpicius had, accompanied with a very different fortune as respects the business of their respective provinces, I will say more plainly in what particular my friend Servius was inferior; and I will say those things while you are now hearing me,—now that the time of the elections is over—which I have often said to him by himself before the affair was settled. I often told you, O Servius, that you did not know how to stand for the consulship; and, in respect to those very matters which I saw you conducting and advocating in a brave and magnanimous spirit, I often said to you that you appeared to me to be a brave senator rather than a wise candidate. For, in the first place, the terrors and threats of accusations which you were in the habit of employing every day, are rather the part of a fearless man; but they have an unfavourable effect on the opinion of the people as regards a man's hopes of getting anything from them, and they even disarm the zeal of his friends. Somehow or other, this is always the case; and it has been noticed, not in one or two instances only, but in many; so that the moment a candidate is seen to turn his attention to provocations, he is supposed to have given up all hopes of his election. [44]

What, then, am I saying? Do I mean that a man is not to prosecute another for any injury which he may have received? Certainly I mean nothing of the sort. But the times for prosecuting and for standing for the consulship are different. I consider that a candidate for any office, especially for the consulship, ought to come down into the forum and into the Campus Martius with great hopes, with great courage, and with great resources. But I do not like a candidate to be looking about for evidence—conduct which is a sure forerunner of a repulse. I do not like his being anxious to marshal witnesses rather than voters. I do not fancy threats instead of caresses,—declamation where there should be salutation; especially as, according to the new fashion now existing, all candidates visit the houses of nearly all the citizens, and from their countenances men form their conjectures as to what spirits and what probabilities of success each candidate has. [45] “Do you see how gloomy that man looks? how dejected? He is out of spirits; he thinks he has no chance; he has laid down his arms.” Then a report gets abroad—“Do you know that he is thinking of a prosecution? He is seeking for evidence against his competitors; he is hunting for witnesses. I shall vote for some one else, as he knows that he has no chance.” The most intimate friends of such candidates as that are dispirited and disarmed, they abandon all anxiety in the matter,—they give up a business which is so manifestly hopeless, or else they reserve all their labour and influence to countenance their friend in the trial and prosecution which he is meditating.

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