But even those very parricides, whose unbridled frenzy is nourished by long impunity, were thrown into such consternation by the violence of their deed, that if the belief of the death of Sestius had lasted a little longer, they would have done as they were thinking of, and have slain their own friend Gracchus, for the sake of attributing the crime to us. That clown, however, being rather wary, (for those wicked men could not conceal their design,) perceived that his own blood was sought for for the purpose of extinguishing the unpopularity of this atrocity of Clodius, and got hold of a cloak belonging to a mule-driver, in which he had originally come to Rome to the comitia, and put a mower's basket on his head, and when some were asking for Numerius, and some for Quintius, he was saved by the mistake of the double name.1 And you are all aware that he was in danger until it was ascertained that Sestius was alive; and if that had not been discovered a little sooner than I could have wished, they would not, indeed, have been able to transfer the odium of the death of their hired tool to those on whom they expected to shift it; but they would have diminished the infamy of their abominable wickedness by one crime which every one would have been glad of.
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THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF PUBLIUS SESTIUS.
THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO AGAINST PUBLIUS VATINIUS; CALLED ALSO, THE EXAMINATION OF PUBLIUS VATINIUS.
1 The man's real name was Numerius Quinctius, who had assumed the name of Gracchus, to which he had no right, in order to make himself popular with the multitude; who, perhaps, on that account elected him tribune.
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