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[43] Imagine for example that a skilful commander, without whose aid the state cannot hope to crush its enemies, is labouring under a charge which is obviously true: will not the common interest irresistibly summon our orator to defend him? We know at any rate that Fabricius publicly voted for and secured the election to the consulate of Cornelius Rufinus, [p. 381] despite the tact that he was a bad citizen and his personal enemy, merely because he knew that he was a capable general and the state was threatened with war.1 And when certain persons expressed their surprise at his conduct, he replied that he had rather be robbed by a fellow-citizen than be sold as a slave by the enemy. Well then, had Fabricius been an orator, would he not have defended Rufinus against a charge of peculation, even though his guilt were as clear as day?

1 The late is uncertain, but the reference must be either to the Samnite war of 290 or the war with Pyrrhus.

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