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26. [63]

You request Plancius to mention any faults of Laterensis. He cannot mention any, unless he thinks him too ill-tempered towards himself. At the same time you extol Laterensis highly yourself. I have no particular objection to your spending a number of words on what has nothing to do with the trial, and to your occupying so much time, while conducting the prosecution, in saying what I, who am the counsel for the defence can admit without any danger. And I do not only admit that every sort of high quality is to be found in Laterensis, but I even find fault with you, for not enumerating his chief excellences, but descending to look for trifling and insignificant subjects for panegyric. You say “That he celebrated games at Praeneste.” Well; have not other quaestors done the same? “That at Cyrene he was liberal towards the farmers of the revenue, and just towards the allies.” Who denies it? but so many important transactions take place at Rome, that it is difficult for those things which are done in the provinces to get heard of. [64] I have no fear, O judges, of appearing to assume too much credit to myself, if I speak of my own quaestorship. For although I got great credit in it, still I consider that I have been employed since that in the highest offices of the state, so that I have no need to seek for much glory from the credit I gained in my quaestorship; but still I do not fear that any one will venture to say that anybody's quaestorship in Sicily has been either more acceptable to the people, or has gained a higher reputation for the quaestor. Indeed, I can say this with truth, I, too, at that time thought that men at Rome were talking of nothing else except my quaestorship. At a time of great dearness, I had sent an immense quantity of corn to Rome. I had been affable to the traders, just to the merchants, liberal to the citizens of the municipal towns, moderate as regards the allies, and in every respect I appeared to have been most diligent in the discharge of every part of my duty. Some perfectly unheard-of honours were contrived for me by the Sicilians. [65] Therefore I left my province with the hope that the Roman people would come forward of its own accord to pay me every sort of honour. But when one day by chance at that time, I, on my road from the province, had arrived in the course of my journey at Puteoli, at a time which great numbers of the wealthiest men are accustomed to spend in that district, I almost dropped with vexation when some one asked me what day I had left Rome, and whether there was any news there. And when I had replied that I was on my road from my province, “Oh yes,” said he, “from Africa, I suppose.”

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