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[13] Such are the methods by which we may [p. 113] defend an act. If it is impossible to defend an act either on its merits or with the assistance of arguments from without, the next best course will be to shift the charge, if possible, to another. It is for this reason that the basis of competence has been held to apply even to those who cannot plead the letter of the law in this connexion.1 In some cases, then, the blame will be thrown on a person: for example, Gracchus, when accused of making the treaty with the Numantines (and it was fear of this accusation that seems to have led him to bring forward the democratic laws of his tribuneship) may plead that he made it as the representative of his commander-in-chief.

1 i e. there are no legal grounds for alleging that the court is not competent to try the case, or the accuser to bring the charge, etc. See III. vi. 53, 78.

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load focus Introduction (Harold Edgeworth Butler, 1922)
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