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16.

It was perhaps about the sixth hour when I complained in the court of justice (when I was defending Caius Antonius, my colleague,) of some things in the republic which appeared to me to relate to the cause of that unhappy man. What I said was reported by some wicked men to some very eminent citizens in language very different from that which I had employed. At the ninth hour on that very same day you were adopted. If, while in all other laws there ought to be an interval of three days, it is sufficient in a law respecting an adoption that there should be one of three hours, I have nothing to object to. But if the same forms are to be observed,—if the senate decreed that the people was not bound by the laws of Marcus Drusus, which had been passed contrary to the provisions of the Caecilian1 and Didian laws you must see that by every description of right which prevails with regard to sacred things, to the auspices, or to the laws, you were not elected tribune of the people. [42] And it is not without reason that I say no more on this point, for I see that some most eminent men, the chief men of the city, have given their decision on different occasions, that you could legally proceed with matters which came before the common people; who said too, with reference to my own case, though they said that the republic was murdered and buried by your motion, still that that burial, miserable and bitter as it was, was all according to law: they said that in carrying such a motion as you had carried concerning me a citizen, and one who had deserved well of the republic, you had inflicted a deadly wound on the republic; but, inasmuch as you had carried it with all due reverence for the auspices, they said that you had acted legally. Wherefore we, I imagine, may be allowed to abstain from attacking those actions by which they were induced to approve of the establishment of your tribuneship. [43]

Suppose, however, that you were as rightly and legally tribune as Rullus himself, who is here present, a man most illustrious and honourable on every account; still, by what law, or in accordance with what precedent or what custom, did you pass a law affecting, by name, the civil rights of a citizen who had not been condemned?


1 When a law comprised very various provisions relating to matters essentially different, it was called Lex satura and the Lex Caecilia Didia forbade the proposing of a Lex satura, on the ground that the people might be compelled either to vote for something which they did not approve, or to reject something which they did approve, if it was proposed to them in this manner. Vide Smith, Dict. Ant. pp. 559, 561, v. Lex.

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