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I, O Laterensis, say that Plancius himself is a popular man, and that he had to assist him in his canvass many men eager in his cause, who were also popular men. And if you call them agents to treat people, you are polluting a kind and zealous friendship, by a very insidious name. But if, because they are popular, you think them on that account objects for prosecution, then do not wonder that you yourself, after repudiating the friendship of popular men, failed in attaining what your real worth demanded for you.

[47] But now, as I prove that Plancius was a popular man in his tribe, because he has been kind to many of them, because he has been security for many of them, because he has procured employment for many of them by means of the authority and interest of his father, and because he has bound the whole prefecture of Atina to himself by all the kindness displayed by himself, by his father, and by his ancestors; I call on you to prove in an equally convincing manner, that he was an agent for receiving money to be spent in bribery; that he was himself a briber; that he classified the people; that he divided the tribes into decuries. And if you cannot, do not deny our order the exercise of a legitimate liberality; do not think that popularity is a crime; do not enact a punishment to be inflicted for courteous attentions.

And accordingly, as you were forced to hesitate about this charge of corrupting a tribe by means of treating, you had recourse to a general accusation of bribery. And in examining this, let us, if you please, cease awhile to contend in vulgar and random declamation. [48] For I will argue with you in this way. Do you choose any one tribe you please, and prove, as you are bound to do, what agent received the money for corrupting it, and who distributed the money among the men of the tribe. And if you cannot do that, which in my opinion you will not even begin to attempt, I will show you the means to which he owes his success. Is not this a fair challenge? Do not you like to proceed in this manner? Can I come to closer quarters, as they say, or can I meet you on a fairer field? Why are you silent? Why do you conceal your intentions? Why do you seek to shirk off? Again and again I press upon you, and keep close to you; I pursue you, I ask for, I even demand some definite accusation. Whatever tribe, I say, you select, whose votes Plancius received, you show, if you can, any flaw in that one instance. I will then show you by what means he really did gain its vote, and the principle shall be exactly the same in his case, and, O Laterensis, in yours. For as you, if I were to ask you, may be able to explain to me through whose influence it was that you gained the affection of these tribes who voted for you, so do I assert that I will explain to you, our adversary, the means by which we gained the vote of any tribe you choose to inquire about.

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