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[87] Which course, then, was more expedient for Fabricius, who was to our city what Aristides was to Athens, or for our senate, who never divorced expediency from honour—to contend against the enemy with the sword or with poison? If supremacy is to be sought for the sake of glory, crime should be excluded, for there can be no glory in crime; but if it is power for its own sake that is sought, whatever the price, it cannot be expedient if it is linked with shame.

That well-known measure, therefore, introduced1 by Philippus, the son of Quintus, was not expedient. With the authority of the senate, Lucius Sulla had exempted from taxation certain states upon receipt of a lump sum of money from them. Philippus proposed that they should again be reduced to the condition of tributary states, without repayment on our part of the money that they had paid for their exemption. And the senate accepted his proposal. Shame upon our government! The pirates' sense of honour is higher than the senate's. “But,” someone will say, “the revenues were increased, and therefore it was expedient.” How long will people venture to say that a thing that is not morally right [p. 363] can be expedient?

1 (2) the senate and the tributary allies,

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load focus Introduction (Walter Miller, 1913)
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