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[74]

But I must change my tone for Cato argues with me on rigid and stoic principles. He says that it is not true that good-will is conciliated by food. He says that men's judgments, in the important business of electing to magistracies, ought not to be corrupted by pleasures. Therefore, if any one, to promote his canvass, invites another to supper, he must be condemned. “Shall you,” says he, “seek to obtain supreme power, supreme authority, and the helm of the republic, by encouraging men's sensual appetites, by soothing their minds, by tendering luxuries to them? Are you asking employment as a pimp from a band of luxurious youths, or the sovereignty of the world from the Roman people?” An extraordinary sort of speech! but our usages, our way of living, our manners, and the constitution itself rejects it. For the Lacedaemonians, the original authors of that way of living and of that sort of language, men who lie at their daily meals on hard oak benches, and the Cretans, of whom no one ever lies down to eat at all, have neither of them preserved their political constitutions or their power better than the Romans, who set apart times for pleasure as well as times for labour; for one of those nations was destroyed by a single invasion of our army, the other only preserves its discipline and its laws by means of the protection afforded to it by our supremacy.


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