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27. [84]

Everything, O Caius Aquillius, is of such a nature that any one may be able to perceive that in this cause dishonesty and interest are contending with poverty and truth. How did the praetor order you to take possession? I suppose, in accordance with his edict. In what words was the recognizance drawn up? “If the goods of Publius Quinctius have been taken possession of in accordance with the praetor's edict.” Let us return to the edict. How does that enjoin you to take possession? Is there any pretence, O Caius Aquillius, if he took possession in quite a different way from that which the praetor enjoined, for denying that then he did not take possession according to the edict, but that I have beaten him in the trial? None, I imagine. Let us refer to the edict.—“They who in accordance with my edict have come into possession.” He is speaking of you, Naevius, as you think; for you say that you came into possession according to the edict. He defines for you what you are to do; he instructs you; he gives you precepts. “It seems that those ought to be in possession.” How? “That which they can rightly secure in the place where they now are, let them secure there; that which they cannot, they may carry or lead away.” What then? “It is not right,” says he, “to drive away the owner against his will.” The very man who with the object of cheating is keeping out of the way, the very man who deals dishonestly with all his creditors, he forbids to be driven off his farm against his will. [85] As you are on your way to take possession, O Sextus Naevius, the praetor himself openly says to you—“Take possession in such manner that Naevius may have possession at the same time with you; take possession in such a manner that no violence may be offered to Quinctius.” What? how do you observe that? I say nothing of his not having been a man who was keeping out of the way, of his being a man who had a house, a wife, children, and an agent at Rome; I say nothing of all this: I say this, that the owner was expelled from his farm; that hands were laid on their master by his own slaves, before his own household gods; I say
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