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4. [11] For that matter, Labienus, which one of us is a benefactor of the people? You, who think an executioner and his fetters ought to be inflicted upon Roman citizens in a public meeting? You, who order a cross to be fixed and erected for the punishment of citizens in the Campus Martius where the auspices are taken for the Centuriate Assembly? Or I, who prohibit a public meeting from being contaminated by the pollution of an executioner? I, who say that the forum of the Roman people must be cleansed of those traces of an unspeakable crime? I, who defend the belief that a public assembly ought to be kept pure, the Campus Martius holy, the body of every Roman citizen undefiled, and the right of liberty unassailable? [12] This tribune of the commoners, this guardian and defender of right and liberty—a benefactor of the people! Really? A law of Porcius removed the rods from the body of all Roman citizens; this man of compassion has brought back scourges. A law of Porcius delivered the liberty of citizens from the lictor; Labienus, man of the people, handed their liberty over to the executioner. Gaius Gracchus carried a law guaranteeing that a trial may not be held over the life and citizenship of Roman citizens without the people's authorization. This benefactor of the people did not force a trial to be held by the Two Men without the people's authorization: he forced a citizen to be condemned on a charge involving his life and citizenship without a hearing of his case.

[13] Do you even mention to me the law of Porcius, the name of Gaius Gracchus, the liberty of these citizens, and any other benefactor of the people who came to mind? You, who sought to defile the liberty of this people not merely with outlandish punishments but with savage words hitherto unheard, who sought to essay their civilization, and who sought to change completely their way of life? The fact is that this stuff, “GO, LICTOR. BIND THE HANDS,” which delights you, merciful benefactor of the people, does not belong to the liberty and civilization of today, not even to Romulus or Numa Pompilius. These are the formulas of Tarquin, a most arrogant and savage king, which the soft-spoken benefactor of the people that you are most effortlessly recalls: “THERE SHALL BE A VEILING OF THE HEAD.” “THERE SHALL BE A HANGING UPON A BARREN TREE.” These words, Roman citizens, were long ago suppressed by the darkness of time past as well as the light of freedom.

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