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[37] But what greater false pretence can there be than for a beardless young man, a vigorous man and a husband, to come forward, and to say that he wishes to adopt as his own son a senator of the Roman people, and for all men to know and see that this senator is adopted, not in order to become really the son of the plebeian, but merely in order that he may quit the patrician body, and be made a tribune of the people? And all that without any disguise. For in this case the adopted son was immediately emancipated, lest he should really have become the son of him who adopted him. Why then is he adopted at all? Only approve of this sort of adoption, and in a moment the sacred ceremonies of every family, of which you ought to be the guardians, will be abolished, and not one patrician will be left. For why should any one be willing to be incapable of being made a tribune of the people? to have his power of standing for the consulship narrowed? and, while he might arrive at the priesthood, not to arrive at it because there is not a vacancy at the moment for a patrician?1 Whenever anything happens to any one to make it more convenient for him to be a plebeian, he will be adopted in the same manner as Clodius.

1 When the number of pontifices was increased to eight, it was provided that one half of that number should always be plebeians. See Livy, x 6.

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