14. Granius, the crier, replied to the consul Publius Nasica in the middle of the forum, when he, after a suspension of all judicial proceedings had been proclaimed, as he was returning home, had asked Granius “why he was sad; was it because all the auctions were postponed?” “Rather,” said he, “because they have sent back the ambassadors.” The same man made this answer to a tribune of the people, Marcus Drusus, a most influential man, but one who was causing great disturbances in the republic. When Drusus had saluted him, as is the fashion, and had said, “How do you do, O Granius?” he replied, “I should rather ask, O Drusus, what are you doing?” And he often reproved with impunity the designs of Lucius Crassus and Marcus Antonius, with still harsher witticisms. At present the state is to such a degree oppressed by your arrogance, that the freedom of laughing in which a crier used to be indulged, is more than is now allowed to a Roman knight in making lamentations.  For what expression was ever used by Plancius which was not dictated by grief rather than by insult? And what did he ever complain of, except at times when he was protecting his companions or himself from injury? When the senate was hindered from making a reply to a representation of the Roman knights,—a thing which was invariably given even to enemies,—that injury was a great grief to all the farmers of the revenue and that indignation this man did not care to conceal. Their common feelings may perhaps have been disguised by others, but the sentiments which my client shared with the rest he revealed more plainly than the rest both by his countenance and by his language.  Although, O judges, (for thus much I know of my own knowledge,) many things are attributed to Plancius which were never said by him. In my own case, because I sometimes say something, not from any deliberate intention, but either in the heat of speaking, or because I have been provoked; and because as is natural, among the many things which I say in this manner something comes out at times if not excessively witty, still perhaps not altogether stupid, the consequence is that, whatever anyone else says people say that I have said. But I, if it is anything clever and worthy of a well-educated and learned man have no great objection but I am very angry when the sayings of other men are attributed to me, which are utterly unworthy of me. For, because he was the first person to give his vote for the law concerning the farmers, at the time when that most illustrious man the consul gave that privilege to that order of men by a vote of the people, which if he had have done it, he would have given them by a vote of the senate, if it be a crime in him to have given his vote for it, I ask what farmer was there who did not vote for it? If the charge be that he was the first to vote, is that the fault of chance, or of the man who proposed the law? If it was the effect of chance, then there can be no crime in what happened by chance. If it was by the choice of the consul, then it adds to the renown of Plancius that he was considered the chief man of his order by so illustrious a man.
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Table of Contents:
THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF CNAEUS PLANCIUS.
THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO AGAINST PUBLIUS VATINIUS; CALLED ALSO, THE EXAMINATION OF PUBLIUS VATINIUS.
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