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20. [49]

But why do I argue in this manner? Just as if Plancius had not already been elected aedile in the former comitia. Which comitia were begun to be held by the consul, a man in every respect of the very highest authority, and the author of those very laws concerning bribery. And besides, he began to hold them very suddenly, contrary to any one's expectation; so that, even if any one had formed the design of committing bribery, he would never have had time to manage it. The tribes were summoned; the votes were given; counted up, declared. Plancius was by far the highest of all on the poll.1 There neither was nor could there be any suspicion of bribery. Is it not the case that the one prerogative century carries such weight with it that no one has ever gained the vote of that, but what he has been declared consul either at that very comitia, or at all events consul for the year? And yet do you wonder that Plancius was elected aedile when it was not a small portion of the people, but the whole people that had declared their good-will towards him? when it was not a portion of one tribe, but the whole comitia which were prerogative comitia in his behalf? [50] And at that time if you, O Laterensis, had been inclined, or if you had thought it consistent with your gravity to do what many men of high birth have often done, who, having gained a great many fewer votes than they had expected, afterwards, when the comitia had been adjourned, have prostrated themselves, and, with broken spirits and in a humble tone, had addressed supplications to the Roman people, I do not question but that the whole multitude would have turned towards you. For nobility, especially when upright and innocent has never, when appearing as a suppliant, been rejected by the Roman people. But if your personal dignity and character for magnanimity was, as it ought to have been, of more importance to you than the aedileship, then, since you have that which you preferred, do not regret that which you thought of less consequence. I myself, in truth, have always striven most zealously, in the first place, to be worthy of honour; in the second place, to be considered so. The third consideration with me, though with most men it is the first, has been the honour itself; but that is a thing which ought to be acceptable to those men in whose case the Roman people has conferred it on them as a testimony to their worth, and not as a favour granted to their assiduity in canvassing for it.

1 Cicero, in his oration against Rullus, shows that the votes were given twice over at elections for magistrates, the comitia tributa being twice held for that object.

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