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5. [14]

If, then, this had been a popular sort of proceeding, if it had had the least particle of equity or justice in it, would Caius Gracchus have passed it over? Forsooth, I suppose, the death of your uncle was a greater affliction to you, than the loss of his brother was to Caius Gracchus. And the death of that uncle whom you never saw is more painful to you, than the death of that brother, with whom he lived on the terms of the most cordial affection, was to him.
*******And you avenge the death of your uncle just as he would have wished to avenge the death of his brother, if he had been inclined to act on your principles. And that great Labienus, your illustrious uncle, whoever he was, left quite as great a regret behind him in the bosoms of the Roman people, as Tiberius Gracchus left? Was your piety greater than that of Gracchus? or your courage? or your wisdom? or your wealth? or your influence? or your eloquence? And yet all those qualities, if he had had ever so little of them, would have been thought great in him in comparison of your qualifications. [15] But as Caius Gracchus surpassed every one in all these particulars, how great do you suppose must be the distance which is interposed between him and you? But Gracchus would rather have died a thousand times by the most painful of deaths, than have allowed the executioner to stand in that assembly—a man whom the laws of the censors considered ought not only to be ejected out of the forum, but even to be deprived of the sight of the sky, of the breath of the atmosphere, and of a home in the city. This man dares to call himself a friend of the people, and me an enemy to your interests; when he has hunted out all the cruelties of punishments and of harsh language, not only as supplied by your recollection, and by that of your fathers, but from all the records of our annals, and all the histories of the kings; and I, with all my power, and all my ingenuity, and all my eloquence, and all my energy, have opposed and resisted his cruelty. Unless, perhaps, you are fond of such a condition of existence as even slaves would not be able by any possibility to bear, if they had not the hope of liberty held out to them. [16] The ignominy of a public trial is a miserable thing,—the deprivation of a man's property by way of penalty is a miserable thing,—exile is a miserable thing; but still, in all these disasters some trace of liberty remains to one. Even if death be threatened, we may die free men; but the executioner, and the veiling of the head, and the mere name of the gibbet, should be far removed, not only from the persons of Roman citizens—from their thoughts, and eyes, and ears. For not only the actual fact and endurance of all these things, but the bare possibility of being exposed to them,—the expectation, the mere mention of them even,—is unworthy of a Roman citizen and of a free man. Does not the kindness of their masters at one touch deliver our slaves from the fear of all these punishments; and shall neither our exploits, nor the purity of our past life, nor the honours which you have conferred on us, save us from the scourge, from the hangman's hook, and even from the dread of the gibbet? [17] Wherefore I confess, and even, O Titus Labienus, I avow and openly allege that you have been driven from that cruel, unreasonable, (I will not say tribunitian, but) tyrannical persecution, by my counsel, by my virtue, and by my influence. And although in that prosecution you neglected all the precedents of our ancestors, all the laws, all the authority of the senate, all religious feeling, and even the public observance due to the auspices, still you shall hear nothing of all this from me, now that I have so little time to speak in. We shall have abundant opportunity hereafter for a discussion on those points.

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