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For as to my having passed a law concerning bribery and corruption, certainly I passed it so as not to abrogate that law which I have long since made for myself concerning defending my fellow-citizens from dangers. If, indeed, I confessed that a largess had been distributed, and were to defend it as having been rightly done, I should be acting wrongly, even if another had passed the law; but when I am saving in defence that nothing has been done contrary to law; then what reason is there that my having passed the law should he an obstacle to my undertaking the defence? [6]

He says that it does not belong to the same severity of character, to have banished from the city by words, and almost by express command, Catiline, when planning the destruction of the republic within its very walls, and now to speak on behalf of Lucius Murena. But I have always willingly acted the part of lenity and clemency which nature itself has taught me but I have not sought the character of severity and rigour, but I have supported it when imposed upon me by the republic as the dignity of this empire required at the time of the greatest peril to the citizens. But if then, when the public required vigour and severity, I overcame my nature, and was as severe as I was forced to be not as I wished to be; now, when all causes invite me to mercy and humanity, with what great zeal ought I to obey my nature and my usual habits? and concerning my duty of defending, and your method of prosecuting, perhaps I shall have again to speak in another part of my speech. [7]

But, O judges, the complaint of Servius Sulpicius, a most wise and accomplished man, moved me no less than the accusation of Cato; for he said that he was exceedingly and most bitterly vexed that I had forgotten my friendship and intimacy with him, and was defending the cause of Lucius Murena against him. I wish, O judges, to satisfy him, and to make you arbitrators between us. For as it is a sad thing to be accused with truth in a case of friendship, so, even if you be falsely accused, it is not to be neglected. I, O Servius Sulpicius, both allow that according to my intimacy with you I did owe you all my zeal and activity to assist you in your canvass, and I think I displayed it when you stood for the consulship, nothing on my part was wanting to you which could have been expected either from a friend, or from an obliging person, or from a consul. That time has gone by,—the case is changed. I think, and am persuaded, that I owed you as much aid as ever you have ventured to require of me against the advancement of Lucius Murena but no aid at all against his safety. [8] Nor does it follow, because I stood by you when you were a candidate for the consulship, that on that account I ought now to be an assistant to you in the same way, when you are attacking Murena himself. And this it not only not praiseworthy,—it is not even allowable, that we may not defend even those who are most entirely strangers to us when our friends accuse them.

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