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[77] There was not in my case any punishment imposed for any offence. Still there was punishment imposed on me by a judicial decision. By what decision? Who ever examined me as a defendant under any law whatever? Who ever accused me? Who ever prosecuted me? Can then a man who is uncondemned be made to bear the punishment of a condemned man? Is this the act of a tribune of the people? Is this the act of a friend of the people? Although, when is it that a man can call himself a friend of the people, except when he has done something for the advantage of the people? Forsooth, has not this principle been handed down to us from our ancestors, that no Roman citizen can be deprived of his liberty, or of his status as a citizen, unless he himself consents to such a thing, as you yourself might learn in your own case? For, although in that adoption of yours nothing was done in a legal manner, still I suppose that you were asked, whether it was your object that Publius Fonteius should have the same power of life and death over you that be would have over an actual son. I ask, if you had either silenced it or had been silent, if, nevertheless, the thirty curies had passed a vote to this effect would that vote have had the force off law? Certainly not. Why? Because the law was established by our ancestors, who were not fictitiously and pretendedly attached to the people, but were so in truth and wisdom, in such a manner that no Roman citizen could be deprived of his liberty against his consent.

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