previous next

[62] You ask whether he is an eloquent man. At all events, what is the next best thing to being so, he does not think himself one. “Is he a lawyer?” As if there were any one who complains that he has given him a false answer in a point of law. For all such acts as that are open to criticism in the case of men who, after they have professed an acquaintance with them, are unable to satisfy people's expectations; not in the case of men who confess that they have never paid any attention to those pursuits. What is usually required in a candidate is virtue, and honesty, and integrity, not volubility of tongue, or an acquaintance with any particular art or science. As we, when we are procuring slaves, are annoyed if we have bought a man as a smith or a plasterer, and find, however good a man he may be, that he knows nothing of those trades which we had in view in buying him; but if we have bought a man to give him charge of our property as steward, or to employ him to look after our stock, then we do not care for any other qualities in him except frugality, industry, and vigilance; so the Roman people elects magistrates to be as it were stewards of the republic, and if they are masters of some accomplishment besides, the people have no objection, but if not, they are content with their virtue and innocence. For how few men are eloquent; how few are skillful lawyers, even if you include all those in your calculation who wish to be so! But if no one else is worthy of honour, what on earth is to become of so many most virtuous and most accomplished citizens?


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (Albert Clark, 1909)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (1 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Allen and Greenough's New Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges, PRONOUNS
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: