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5. [11]

And I will allow that dark period of your early youth to remain in obscurity. You may with impunity, as far as I am concerned, have broken through walls in your youth, and plundered your neighbours, and beaten your mother. Your infamous character has this advantage, that the baseness of your youth is concealed by your obscurity and vileness.

You stood for the quaestorship with Publius Sestius; while he was talking of nothing but the object which he had in view at the moment and you were constantly saying that you were thinking of obtaining a second consulship. I ask you this. Do you recollect when Publius Sestius was unanimously elected quaestor, that you then were named as the last quaestor, against the will of every one; not owing to the kindness which the people felt for you, but only to that of the consul? [12] In that magistracy, when the province of Ostia, down by the water's edge, had fallen to your lot, raising a great outcry at the time, were you not sent by me, as I was consul, to Puteoli, to prevent gold and silver being exported from thence? While occupied in the discharge of that duty, do you remember that, as you acted as if you supposed that you had been sent, not as a guardian to take care and keep the wealth at home, but as a carrier to distribute it, and as you in a most robber-like manner were examining into every one's house, and store, and ship, and harassing men occupied in business and in trade with most iniquitous law proceedings, frightening merchants as they disembarked from their ships, and delaying them as they were embarking,—do you recollect, I say, that violent hands were laid on you in Puteoli while you were present among the body of the Roman settlers? and that the complaints of the people of Puteoli were brought before me as consul? Do you recollect that after your quaestorship you went as lieutenant into the further Spain, Caius Cosconius being the proconsul? Do you recollect too, that though that journey into Spain is usually made by land, or if any one chooses to go by sea, there is a regular route by which they sail, you came into Sardinia, and from thence into Africa? Were you not in the kingdom of Hiempsal,—a proceeding on your part which was perfectly illegal without a decree of the senate to authorize it? Were you not in the kingdom of Mastanesosus?1 Did you not come to the strait by way of Mauritania? and did you ever hear of any lieutenant of any part of Spain before you who went to that province by that route? [13]

You were made tribune of the people, (for why need I put questions to you about the iniquities and most sordid robberies which you committed in Spain?) I ask of you first in a general manner what description of dishonesty and wickedness did you omit to practise in your discharge of that office? And I now give you this warning,—not to mix up your own infamy with the high character of most eminent men. I, in whatever questions I put to you, will question you yourself only, and I will drag you forth not from the dignity of a great man, which you affect, but from your own obscurity and darkness. And all my weapons shall be directed at you in such a manner, that no one else shall be wounded (to use an expression of your own) through your side; my arrows shall stick in your lungs and in your entrails.

1 It is unknown what country is meant, except that it is evidently some part of Africa.

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