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42. [90]

How, then, can you accuse Sestius with reference to this fact of his having provided himself with a guard, when at the same time you praise Milo? Is it legal for that man to provide himself with a guard who is defending his own house, who is repelling fire and sword from his altars and his fire-side, who seeks to be allowed to present himself with safety in the forum, in the temples of the gods, and in the senate-house; but do you think that man who is warned by the wounds which he sees every day over his whole person, to defend his head, and his neck, and his throat, and his sides, by some protection or other, deserving to be prosecuted for violence? [91] For who of you, O judges, is ignorant that the nature of things has been such, that at one time men, before there was any natural or civil law fully laid down, wandered in a straggling and disorderly manner over the country, and had just that property which they could either seize or keep by their own personal strength and vigour, by means of wounds and bloodshed? Those men, therefore, who showed themselves to be the most eminent for virtue and wisdom, they, having considered the character of men's aptitude for instruction and of their natural disposition, collected into one place those who were previously scattered abroad, and brought them over from their former savage way of life to justice and mildness of manners. Then came those constitutions devised for the utility of man, which we call commonwealths. Then came collections of men which were subsequently called states; then men surrounded with walls sets of houses joined together, which we now call cities, and divine and human laws began to be recognised.

[92] And there is no point in which there is so much difference between this manner of life, polished by civilization and that savage one, as in the fact of law being the ruling principle of the one, and violence of the other. If we do not choose to be guided by one we must adopt the other. Do we wish violence to be put an end to? Law must inevitably prevail; that is to say, courts of justice must, for in them all law and justice are comprehended. Do we disapprove of courts of justice, or are they destroyed or suspended? In a moment violence must be supreme. Everybody sees this. Milo saw it and acted in such a manner as to try the power of law and to banish violence. He wished to avail himself of the one, in order that courage and virtue might defeat audacity; he had recourse to the other from compulsion, in order to prevent virtue and courage from being defeated by audacity. And the principle of conduct of Publius Sestius was the same if not in prosecuting Clodius, (for, it does not follow that exactly the same details of conduct are to be pursued by every one,) still at all events in the necessity of defending his safety, and in preparing a defence against force and personal violence.

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