51. But I, with respect to speeches of that sort, am guided by the authority of many men, and especially of that most eloquent and most wise man, Lucius Crassus; who—when he was defending Lucius Plancius, whom Marcus Brutus, a man both vehement and able as a speaker, was prosecuting; when Brutus, having set two men to read, made them read alternate chapters out of two speeches of his, entirely contrary to one another, because when he was arguing against that motion which was introduced against the colony of Narbo, he disparaged the authority of the senate as much as he could, but when he was urging the adoption of the Servilian law, he extolled the senate with the most excessive praises; and when he had read out of that oration many things which had been spoken with some harshness against the Roman knights, in order to inflame the minds of those judges against Crassus—is said to have been a good deal agitated.  And so, in making his reply, he first of all explained the difference between the two times, so that the speech might appear to have arisen from the case and from its circumstances; after that, in order that Brutus might learn what a man, not only eloquent but endued with the greatest wit and facetiousness, he had provoked, he himself in his turn brought up three readers with a book a piece, all which books Marcus Brutus, the father of the prosecutor, had left, on the civil law. When the first lines of them were read, those which I take to be known to all of you, “It happened by chance that I and Brutus my son were in the country near Privernum,” he asked what had become of his farm at Privernum. “I and Brutus my son were in the district of Alba.” He begged to know where his Alban farm was. “Once, when I and Brutus my son had sat down in the fields near Tibur.” Where was his farm near Tibur? And he said that “Brutus, a wise man, seeing the profligacy of his son, evidently wished to leave a record behind him of what farms he left him. And if he could with any decency have written that he had been in the bath with a son of that age, he would not have passed it over; and still that he preferred inquiring about those baths, not from the books of his father, but from the registers and the census.” Crassus then chastised Brutus in this manner, and made him repent of his readings. For perhaps he had been annoyed at being reproved for those speeches which he had delivered in the affairs of the republic; in which perhaps deliberate wisdom is more required than in those in court.  But I am not at all vexed at those things having been read. For they were not unsuited to the state of the times which then existed, nor to the cause in which they were spoken. Nor did I take any obligation on myself when I spoke them, to prevent my defending this cause with honour and freedom. But suppose I were now to confess, that I had now become acquainted with the real merits of Cluentius's case, but that I was previously influenced by popular opinion concerning it, who could blame me especially when, O judges, it is most reasonable that this also should be granted me by you, which I begged at the beginning, and which I request now, that if you have brought with you into court a somewhat unfavourable opinion of this cause, you will lay it aside now that you have thoroughly investigated the case and learnt the whole truth.
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THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF AULUS CLUENTIUS HABITUS.
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