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2. [4]

Although, O judges, if they have found any fault in me which is not connected with the case of my present client, I am not much disturbed about that; for I am not afraid that, because it is a very rare thing to meet with grateful men, on that account it can really be considered as a charge against me when those men say that I am too grateful. But as for the points that have been urged by them, when they have said either that the services done me by Cnaeus Plancius were of less importance than I make them out to be; or that if they were ever so great, still they ought not to have that weight with you which I considered them entitled to; these points, O judges, must be touched on by me with moderation, indeed, lest I should give any offence myself; and not until I have fully replied to the accusations brought against him, lest my client should seem to have been defended not so much by his own innocence, as by the recollection of his conduct at the time of my necessity. [5]

But, considering how plain and simple my case is, O judges, the line to be taken by me in defending it is exceedingly difficult and slippery. For if it were merely necessary for me to argue against Laterensis, yet even this would be a very vexatious thing, considering our great friendship and intimacy; for it is an old principle of genuine and real friendship, such as subsists between him and me, that friends should always have the same wishes; nor is there any surer bond of friendship than an agreement in and community of designs and wishes. But the most annoying circumstance to me in the case is, not that I have merely to argue against him, but much more, that I have to argue against him in a cause in which it seems impossible to avoid drawing some comparison between the parties themselves. [6] For Laterensis asks, and presses this point above all others, in what virtue, in what sort of renown or worth Plancius is superior to himself. And so, if I admit his high qualifications,—and he has plenty of them, and important ones too—I must not only run the risk of Plancius losing this dignity which he has obtained, but he must submit also to the suspicion of bribery. If I speak of my client as superior to him, then my speech will be considered insulting, and I shall be supposed to say, (as he puts the question himself,) that Laterensis was surpassed by Plancius in real worth. And so I must either hurt the feelings of a man who is a great friend of mine, if I follow the line taken by the prosecutor, or else I must abandon the safety of one who has behaved to me with the greatest kindness.


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