A more severe punishment for the common people was demanded by your voice. The minds of the lower orders were agitated. The punishment of an exile was demanded in the case of any one of our order being convicted. The senate granted it to your request; but still it was with no good will that they established a more severe condition for our common fortunes at your instigation. Punishment was imposed on any one who made the excuse of illness. The inclinations of many men were alienated by this step, as by it they were forced either to labour to the prejudice of their health, or else through the distress of illness they were compelled to abandon the other enjoyments of life. What then, are we to say of this? Who passed this law? He, who, in so doing, acted in obedience to the senate, and to your wish. He, in short, passed it to whom it was not of the slightest personal advantage. Do you think that those proposals which, with my most willing consent, the senate rejected in a very full house, were but a slight hindrance to you? You demanded the confusion of the votes of all the centuries, the extension of the Manilian law, 1 the equalization or all interest and dignity, and of all the suffrages. Honourable men, men of influence in their neighbourhoods and municipalities, were indignant that such a man should contend for the abolition of all degrees in dignity and popularity. You also wished to have judges selected by the accuser at his pleasure, the effect of which would have been, that the secret dislikes of the citizens, which are at present confined to silent grumblings, would have broken out in attacks on the fortunes of every eminent man.
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THE ORATION OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF L. MURENA, PROSECUTED FOR BRIBERY.
1 This was not the Manilian law, in support of which Cicero spoke to confer the command in Asia on Pompeius; but a law enacting that the votes should be counted without any regard to the centuries in which they were given; but this law was repealed soon after its enactment.
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