A law which even to private individuals seemed to be no law at all, having been framed by slaves, posted up by violence, carried by piratical fury when the senate was driven away when all virtuous men had been frightened from the forum when the republic had been taken by storm in violation of all laws whatever, and which was drawn up in violation of every precedent; were men who said that they were afraid of that law, consuls? could, I will not say the minds of men, but could any records or annals even style them such? For even if you did not consider that a law, which was contrary to all law, being the proscription by the mere power of a tribune of a citizen who had never been condemned, and the deprivation of his rights and the confiscation of his property, but nevertheless were held fast by the agreement which you had made; who would consider you to have been then, not only consuls, but even free men at all, when your minds were hampered by a bribe, your tongues padlocked by wages? But if, on the other hand, you, being the only people in the state who did so, did consider that a law; can any one think that you were consuls then, or that you are men of consular rank now, you who are ignorant of the laws, and principles, and usages, and rights of that state in which you wish to be accounted some of the chief citizens?
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO AGAINST PUBLIUS VATINIUS; CALLED ALSO, THE EXAMINATION OF PUBLIUS VATINIUS.
THE ORATION OF M. T. CICERO AGAINST LUCIUS CALPURNIUS PISO.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.