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“But his father,” says the prosecutor, “ought to be considered an objection to the son.” O what a harsh expression, how unworthy of your honesty, O Laterensis! To say that in a capital trial, that in a contest where all his fortunes are at stake, a father ought to be an objection to his son in the eyes of such men as these judges! when even if he were ever so mean, or ever so sordid, still, by the mere name of father, he would have weight with mild and merciful judges; would have weight I say, because of the common feelings of all men, and through the sweet recommendation of nature. [32] But as that Cnaeus Plancius is a Roman knight, whose rank as such is of that antiquity that his father, his grandfather, and all his ancestors were Roman knights before him, and in a most flourishing prefecture1 occupied the highest position both for rank and influence; secondly, as he himself while serving in the legions under Publius Crassus as general, enjoyed a character of the highest respectability among a number of most accomplished men, Roman knights; as he was after that the chief man among his fellow-citizens, a most incorruptible and upright judge in many causes, a promoter of many companies, and president of some;—if not only no fault has ever been found with him, but if the whole of his conduct has been universally praised; shall we still be told that such a father shall be an objection to a most honourable son, when he would be able by his authority, or, if not, by his interest, to protect a less honourable man, or one entirely unconnected with him? [33] “He has at times,” says he, “said some very harsh things.” Perhaps he may have spoken rather freely. “But that speaking freely, as you term it,” says he, “is not to be borne.” Are then those men to be borne who complain that they cannot bear the freedom of a Roman knight? Where are our old customs? Where is our equality of privileges? Where is that ancient liberty, which, having been overwhelmed by civil disasters, ought by this time to be raising its head and to be at last recovered and assuming a more erect attitude again? Need I recount the abuse directed by the Roman knights against even the noblest men, or that of the harsh, ferocious, unbridled expressions of the farmers against Quintus Scaevola, a man superior to all others in genius, justice, and integrity?

1 “In some Italian towns there was a praefectus juri dicundo. He was in the place of, and not coexistent with, duumviri. The duumviri were originally chosen by the people, but the praefectus was appointed annually in Rome, and sent to the town called a praefectura, which might be either a municipium or a colonia; for it was only in the matter of the praefectus that a town called a praefectura differed from other Italian towns. Arpinum is called both a municipium and a praefectura.”—Smith Dict. Ant. p. 259, v. Colonia, q. v.

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