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16. [38]

But in this case, O Laterensis, what tribes did you select? The Terentian tribe, I suppose. That certainly was an equitable proceeding, and certainly one that was expected, and it was quite worthy of your wisdom and firmness. The tribe of which you keep crying out that Plancius had been the seller, and corrupter, and briber; that tribe, especially since it consists, as it does, of most virtuous and highly respectable men, you ought to have chosen. Did you choose the Voltinian tribe? for you have taken it into your head to connect some charge or other with that tribe. Why, then, did you not select that tribe? What had Plancius to do with the Lemonian tribe? What had he to do with the Ufentian? or with the Crustumine? for as for the Maecian tribe, you selected that to be one, not to judge, but to be rejected. [39] Have you any doubt, then, O judges, that Marcus Laterensis selected you on his own judgment having regard not to the spirit of the law, but to some hope which he had himself formed with reference to the state? Have you any doubt that when he avoided selecting those tribes among which Plancius had extensive connections, the reason was that he judged that they had been won over by legitimate attention and kindness, not corrupted by bribery? For what reason can he allege why that power of selection given to the prosecutor is not a measure of great severity towards the defendant, if it is adopted without the consideration which determined us to pass such a law? [40] Are you to choose out of all the people either those who are personal friends of your own, or personal enemies to me, or men whom you consider inexorable, inhuman and cruel? Are you, without my knowing, or suspecting, or dreaming of such a step, to choose your own connections and those of your friends, personal enemies to me and to my counsel? And are you to add to them those whom you think by nature harsh and unfriendly to all the world? And are you then to produce them all of a sudden, so that I see the bench of judges who are to try me before I can form the least idea who they are going to be? And are you to compel me to plead my cause, one in which all my fortunes are at stake, before those men, without having the power of rejecting even five, which was a privilege allowed to the last man who was put on his trial by the decision of the judges themselves? [41] For it does not follow because Plancius has lived in such a manner as never willfully to offend any one, or because you have made such a mistake as unintentionally to select such men that we find we are come before judges, and not before executioners, that on that account that selection, if looked at by itself, is not a severe measure.


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