All the men of consular rank are accused at one swoop; so that the name of the most honourable office in the state appears now to carry with it more unpopularity than dignity. “They stood by Catiline,” says he, “and praised him.” At that time there was no conspiracy known of or discovered. They were defending a friend. They were giving their suppliant the countenance of their presence. They did not think the moment of his most imminent danger a fit time to reproach him with the infamy of his life. Moreover, even your own father, O Torquatus, when consul, was the advocate of Catiline when he was prosecuted on a charge of extortion: he knew he was a bad man, but he was a suppliant; perhaps he was an audacious man, but he had once been his friend. And, as he stood by him after information of that first conspiracy had been laid before him, he showed that he had heard something about him, but that he had not believed it.
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THE ORATION OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF PUBLIUS SULLA.
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