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7. [15]

Accordingly, your speech descended from vituperations of him on the score of chastity, to endeavours to excite odium against him on account of that conspiracy. For you laid it down,—though with hesitating steps and without dwelling on it,—that he must have been an accomplice in the conspiracy, on account of his friendship with Catiline; in advancing which charge, not only the accusation itself failed to wound, but the speech of that eloquent young man lost its usual coherency. For how could Caelius have been capable of such frenzy? What enormous depravity was there in his natural disposition, or in his habits, or what deficiency in his fortunes or prospects, to dispose him to such a crime? And lastly, when was the name of Caelius ever heard of in connection with any suspicion of the sort? I am saying too much about a matter about which there is not the least doubt; but I say this,—that if he had not, not merely been guiltless of any participation in the conspiracy, but been a most decided and avowed enemy of that wickedness, he would never have gone so far as to seek for an especial commendation of his youth by a prosecution of men implicated in that conspiracy. [16]

And I know not whether I need think it equally necessary to make a reply to the charges of corruption, and to the accusations about clubs and agents (since I have lighted on these topics). For Caelius would never have been so insane as to accuse another man of bribery, if he had stained himself with that mean practice of corruption, nor would he seek to fix a suspicion of such conduct on another, when he wished to obtain for himself perpetual licence to commit it. Nor if he thought there was a chance of his being put in peril but once on an accusation of corruption would he twice over prosecute another man on the same charge. And although his doing so is not wise, and is against my will, still it is an action of such a sort, that it is plain that a man who conducts himself so, rather thinks it open to him to attack the innocence of another, than that he has any reason to be afraid of anything on his own account. [17]

For, as respects the charges that have been brought against him of being in debt, as regards the reproaches which have been levelled at him on the score of prodigality, and of the demands that have been made to see his accounts, just see how briefly I will reply to them. In the first place, he, who is still under the power of his father, keeps no accounts. He has never any transactions connected with borrowing or lending. As to his extravagance, there is one particular item of expense objected to him, that for his house. You say that he dwells in a house which he rents for thirty thousand sesterces.1 Now, I see by this, that Publius Clodius wants to sell his house; for it is his house that Caelius lives in, at a rent, I suppose, of ten thousand sesterces. And you, O prosecutors, out of your anxiety to please him, have permitted yourselves this enormous lie to suit his purposes. [18]

You have blamed him for dwelling in a house apart from his father, a thing which is not at all to be blamed in a man of his age. For as, labouring in the cause of the republic, he had achieved a victory which was, indeed, annoying to me, but glorious to himself; and as he was now of sufficiently mature age to stand for a magistracy, not only with the permission, but in consequence of even the advice of his father, he left his house, and as his father's house was a long way from the forum, he hired a house on the Palatine Hill, at no very high rent, in order the more easily to be able to visit us at our houses, and to receive visits from his friends.

1 About two hundred and forty pounds.

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