1. I should have been very glad, O judges, if Publius Sulla had been able formerly to retain the honour of the dignity to which he was appointed, and had been allowed, after the misfortune which befell him, to derive some reward from his moderation in adversity. But since his unfriendly fortune has brought it about that he has been damaged, even at a time of his greatest honour, by the unpopularity ensuing not only from the common envy which pursues ambitious men, but also by the singular hatred in which Autronius is held, and that even in this sad and deplorable wreck of his former fortunes, he has still some enemies whose hostility he is unable to appease by the punishment which has fallen upon him; although I am very greatly concerned at his distresses, yet in his other misfortunes I can easily endure that an opportunity should be offered to me of causing virtuous men to recognise my lenity and merciful disposition, which was formerly known to every one, but which has of late been interrupted as it were; and of forcing wicked and profligate citizens, being again defeated and vanquished, to confess that, when the republic was in danger, I was energetic and fearless; now that it is said, I am lenient and merciful. [2] And since Lucius Torquatus, O judges, my own most intimate friend, O judges, has thought that if he violated our friendship and intimacy somewhat in his speech for the prosecution, he could by that means detract a little from the authority of my defence, I will unite with my endeavours to ward off danger from my client a defence of my own conduct in the discharge of my duty. Not that I would employ that sort of speech at present, O judges, if my own interest alone were concerned, for on many occasions and in many places I have had, and I often shall have, opportunities of speaking of my own credit. But as he, O judges, has thought that the more he could take away from my authority, the more also he would be diminishing my client's means of protection; I also think, that if I can induce you to approve of the principles of my conduct and my wisdom in this discharge of my duty and in undertaking this defence, I shall also induce you to look favourably on the cause of Publius Sulla. [3] And in the first place, O Torquatus, I ask you this why you should separate me from the other illustrious and chief men of this city, in regard to this duty, and to the right of defending clients? For what is the reason why the act of Quintus Hortensius a most illustrious man and a most accomplished citizen, is not blamed by you, and mine is blamed? For if a design of firing the city, and of extinguishing this empire, and of destroying this city, was entertained by Publius Sulla ought not such projects to raise greater indignation and greater hatred against their authors in me than in Quintus Hortensius? Ought not my opinion to be more severe in such a matter, as to whom I should think fit to assist in these causes, whom to oppose, whom to defend, and whom to abandon? No doubt, says he, for it was you who investigated, you who laid open the whole conspiracy.

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