1. It is a new crime, and one never heard of before this day, O Caius Caesar, which my relation Quintus Tubero has brought before you, when he accuses Quintus Ligarius with having been in Africa; and that charge Caius Pansa, a man of eminent genius, relying perhaps on that intimacy with you which he enjoys, has ventured to confess. Therefore I do not know which way I had best proceed. For I had come prepared, as you did not know that fact of your own knowledge, and could not have heard it from any other quarter, to abase your ignorance in order to further the safety of a miserable man. But, however, since that which was previously unknown has been ferreted out by the diligence of his enemy we must, I suppose, confess the truth; especially as my dear friend Caius Pansa has so acted that it would not now be in my power to deny it. Therefore, abandoning all dispute of the fact, all my speech must be addressed to your mercy; by which many have already been preserved, having besought of you, not a release from all guilt, but pardon from admitted error.

[2] You, therefore, O Tubero, have that which is of all things most desirable for a prosecutor, a defendant who confesses his fault; but still, one who confesses it only so far as he admits that he was of the same party as you yourself, O Tubero, were, and as that man worthy of all praise, your father, also was. Therefore you must inevitably confess yourselves also to be guilty, before you can find fault with any part of the conduct of Ligarius.

Quintus Ligarius, then, at a time when there was no suspicion of war, went as lieutenant into Africa with Caius Considius, in which lieutenancy he made himself so acceptable, both to our citizens there and to our allies, that Considius on departing from the province could not have given satisfaction to those men if he had appointed any one else to govern it. Therefore, Quintus Ligarius, after refusing it for a long time without effect, took upon himself the government of the province against his will. And while peace lasted, he governed it in such a manner that his integrity and good faith were most acceptable both to our citizens and to our allies. [3] On a sudden, war broke out, which those who were in Africa heard of as being actually raging before any rumour of its preparation had reached them. But when they did hear of it, partly out of an inconsiderate eagerness, partly out of some blind apprehension, they sought for some one as a leader, at first only with the object of securing their safety, and afterwards with that of indulging their party-spirit; while Ligarius, keeping his eyes fixed on home, and wishing to return to his friends, would not allow himself to be implicated in any business of the sort. In the meantime, Publius Attius Varus, who as praetor had obtained the province of Africa, came to Utica. Every one immediately flocked to him, and he seized on the government with no ordinary eagerness, if that may be called government which was conferred on him, while a private individual, by the clamour of an ignorant mob, without the sanction of any public council. [4] Therefore, Ligarius, who was anxious to avoid being mixed up in any transactions of the sort remained quiet for some time on the arrival of Varus.

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