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3. [8]

Must I needs make a long speech on the topics of peculation, or of burning the registers? of which charge Caius Curtius, a relation of Caius Rabirius, was most honourably acquitted, as was due to his virtue, by a most illustrious bench of judges. But Rabirius himself not only was never prosecuted on either of these charges, but never fell under any the very slightest suspicion of them; nor was any such idea ever breathed by any one. Or must I be careful to reply to what has been said touching his sister's son? who, you said, had been murdered by him, as he sought an excuse for putting off the trial on the pretext of a domestic calamity. For what is more natural than that his sister's husband should be dearer to him than his sister's son? and so much dearer; that he would deprive the one of life in a most cruel manner, in order to gain a two days' adjournment of his trial for the other? Or need I say much respecting the detention of another man's slaves contrary to the Fabian law, or of the scourging and putting to death of Roman citizens, contrary to the Porcian law, when Caius Rabirius is honoured with the zeal displayed in his behalf by all Apulia, and by the eminent good-will of the state of Campania; and when not only individuals, but I may almost say whole nations, have flocked hither to deliver him from danger, brought up from a greater distance than his name as a neighbour of theirs on their borders required? For why need I prepare a long speech on that point when it is set down in the count which assesses the damages, that he had regard to neither his own chastity nor to that of others? [9] Moreover, I suspect that it was on that account that I was limited by Labienus to half an hour, in order that I might not be able to say much on this question of chastity. Therefore, you perceive that this half-hour is too long for me to discuss those charges which especially require the care of an advocate.

That other part about the death of Saturninus, you wished to be too short and narrow for my requirements; and it is one which requires and stands in need, not so much of the ingenuity of an orator, as of the authority of a consul. [10] For as for the trial for treason, which, when you accuse me, you say has been put an end to by me, that is a charge against me; and not against Rabirius. And I wish, O Romans, that I was the first or the only person, who had abolished that in this republic. I wish that that, which he brings forward as a charge against me, might be an evidence of my peculiar glory. For what can be desired by any one which I should prefer to being said in my consulship to have banished the executioner from the forum, and the gallows from the Campus? But that credit belongs, in the first instance, O Romans, to our ancestors, who, after the kings had been expelled, did not choose to retain any vestige of kingly cruelty among a free people; and in the second instance, to many gallant men, who thought it fit that your liberty should not be an unpopular thing from the severity of the punishments with which it was protected but that it should be defended by the lenity of the laws.

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