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[12]

I proceed now to take on myself the part of the people, so as to argue with you in their language rather than in my own. If the people then could meet you, and speak with one voice, it would say this-—“I, O Laterensis, have not preferred Plancius to you; but, as you were both equally virtuous men, I have conferred my favours on him who entreated me for them, rather than on him who had not solicited me with any great humility.” You will reply, I suppose, that you relied on your high character, and the antiquity of your family, and did not think it necessary to canvass very laboriously. But the people will remind you of its own established principles, and of the precedents of its ancestors. It will say that it has always chosen to be asked for these honours, and to be solicited eagerly. It will tell you that it preferred Marcus Seius, a man who was unable to keep even his dignity as a knight undamaged by an adverse decision in a court of justice, to a man of the highest rank, most unimpeachable, and most eloquent Marcus Piso. It will tell you that it preferred to Quintus Catulus, a man of the most illustrious family, a most wise and admirable man, I will not say Caius Seranus a most foolish man, for nevertheless he was a noble; nor Caius Fimbria, a new man, for he was a magnanimous man and a wise counselor; but Cnaeus Mallius, a man not only of no rank or family at all, but utterly destitute of virtue and ability, and of contemptible and sordid habits of life. —


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