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I have already said, O judges, that even if you remove all these injuries, still that the occupation of cultivating land is maintained owing to the hopes and a certain sort of pleasure which it gives, rather than because of the profit and emolument arising from it. In truth every year constant labour and constant expense is incurred in the hope of a result which is casual and uncertain. Moreover, the crop does not command a high price, except in a disastrous harvest. But if there has been a great abundance of crops gathered, then there is cheapness in selling them. So that you may see that the corn must be badly sold if it is got in well, or else that the crop must be bad if you get a good price for it. And the whole business of agriculture is such, that it is regulated not by reason or by industry, but by those most uncertain things,—the weather and the winds. When from agriculture one tenth is extracted by law and on fair terms,—when a second is levied by a new regulation, on account of the necessity of procuring a sufficient supply for ourselves,—when, besides, corn is purchased every year by public authority,—and when, after all that, more still is ordered by magistrates and lieutenants to be supplied for the granary,—what, or how much is there after all this of his own crop which the cultivator or owner can have at his own disposal, for his own profit?

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load focus Notes (J. B. Greenough, G. L. Kittredge)
load focus Latin (Albert Clark, William Peterson, 1917)
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