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[40]

That Apronius had such great influence while he was praetor? That he must unavoidably confess. But perhaps you will inquire in this place, as the law reminds you to do, whether he himself has made any money by this conduct. I will show you that he has made vast sums, and I will prove that he established all those iniquitous rules which I have mentioned before, with no object but his own profit, when I have first removed out of his line of defence that rampart which he thinks he shall be able to employ against all my attacks.

I sold, says he, the tenths at a high price. What are you saying? Did you, O most audacious and senseless of men, sell the tenths? Did you sell those portions which the senate and people of Rome allowed you to sell, or the whole produce; and in that the whole property and fortunes of the cultivators? If the crier had openly given notice by your order, that there was being sold, not a tenth, but half the corn, and if purchasers had come with the idea of buying half the corn—if then you had sold the half for more than the other praetors had sold the tenth part of it, would that seem strange to any one? But what shall we say if the crier gave notice of a sale of the tenths, but if, in fact, by your regulation,—by your edict,—by the terms of the sale which you offered, more than a half portion Was sold? Will you still think that creditable to yourself, to have sold what you had no right to sell for more than others sold what they fairly could?


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