Cicero, pro Flacco (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Flac.].
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4 For whom else can I appeal to? whom can I cite? whom can I entreat? The senate? Nay; the senate itself implores assistance from you, and feels that the confirmation of its authority is submitted to your decision. The Roman knights? You yourselves, the fifty chief men of that body, will declare how far your sentiments are in unison with those of the rest. Shall I appeal to the Roman people? That body has delivered over to you all its power over us in our case. Wherefore, unless we can maintain in this place, and before you, and by your means, O judges, I will not say our authority, for that is lost but our safety, which hangs on a slender hope, and that hope our last, we have no place of refuge beyond to which we can betake ourselves. Unless perchance, O judges, you fail to see, as yet, what is the real object of this proceeding, what is really at stake, and what is the cause, the foundations of which are being now laid.

5 The man has been condemned who slew Catiline when he was bearing his hostile standards against his country. What reason is there why he who drove Catiline from the city should be exempt from fear? That man is demanded for punishment who discovered the proofs of the common destruction of all which was then being planned. Why should he feel safe who took care to produce and divulge those proofs? The partners of his counsels, his ministers and comrades are harassed. What are the leaders, and chiefs, and principal men of his party to expect? We should then see whether at that time all good men were my guides or my companions in preserving the common safety of


He preferred saying they were strangled. [Note]


What did my friend Caetra wish?


And what did Decianus?


And I wish that my enemies, and those of all good men, would rather attack me; I wish it really was mine. The senate to a great extent


O ye immortal gods! that Lentulus


[What [Note] was the use of bringing forward foreign evidence,] when his domestic life and his natural disposition was notorious? Therefore, I will not, O Decimus Laelius, allow you to assume this law and this condition as applicable to yourself and to the rest for the future, and to us at present

When you have branded his youth, when you have stigmatized the rest of his life with stains of infamy, when you have brought forward the ruin of his private affairs and his disgrace in the city, and his vices and crimes in Spain and Gaul and Cilicia, and Crete, in which provinces he lived in no great obscurity, then we shall hear what the people of Tmolus and the Lorymeni think of Lucius Flaccus. But the man whom so many and such influential provinces wish to be saved,—whom many citizens from all parts of Italy defended, being bound to him by intimate connection and old friendship,—whom this the common country of us all holds fast in her embrace, on account of her fresh recollection of his great services,—him, even if all Asia demands him for punishment, I will defend,—his enemies I will resist. What if it is not all Asia that demands him, nor the best part of it nor even any part without bribery, nor of its own accord, nor rightly, nor in a manner according to custom, nor with truth, nor with any conscientious regard to justice or honesty? If it duly demands him because it has been persuaded, and tampered with, and excited, and compelled to do so,—if it has backed this prosecution with its name impiously, and rashly, and covetously, and with great inconsistency, speaking only by the mouth of the most needy witnesses, and if the province itself has no grounds to complain with truth of any injuries done by him; still, O judges, will these statements,

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heard with reference to a very brief epoch diminish the credit due to actions which we really know, extending over a long period of time?

I, therefore, as his defender, will preserve this order which his enemy avoids; and I will pursue and follow up the prosecutor, and of my own accord I will demand the accusation from our adversary. What is it, O Laelius? Have you at any time been able to stigmatize the youth of Lucius Flaccus, who has passed his time, not in the shade, nor in the common pursuits and training of those his age? In truth, even as a boy he went with his father, the consul, to the wars; and yet, even as to this very fact you accused him of something because [something [Note] appeared able to be said so as to excite suspicion.]

ch. 3


With what charges, then, O Laelius, do you attack my client being such a man as he is? He was in Cilicia a military tribune when Publius Servilius was the general; not a word is said about that. He was quaestor to Marcus Piso in Spain; not a word has been uttered about his quaestorship. He was present at the greater part of the Cretan war, and went through all its hardships in the company of that consummate general. The accusation is dumb with regard to this period. His discharge of his duties as judge during his praetorship,—a business of great intricacy, and affording numberless causes for suspicion and enmities, is not touched. Nay more, though it fell in a most critical and perilous time of the republic, it is praised even by his enemies. “Oh, but damaging evidence has been given against him.” Before I say by whom it was given, by what hopes, by what violence, by what means the witnesses were urged on, and what insignificant, needy, treacherous, audacious men they were, I will speak of their whole class, and of the condition in which all of us are placed. In the name of the immortal gods, O judges, will you ask of unknown witnesses in what way the man decided trials in Asia, who the year before had sat as judge at Rome? And will you yourselves form no conjectures on the subject? In a jurisdiction so various, many decrees were issued,—many desires of influential men were set at nought; and yet, what words, (I will not say of suspicion, for that is often false, but) of anger or indignation were ever once uttered against him? And is that man to be put on his trial for covetousness, who, when employed on a business affording numerous opportunities for such conduct, shunned all base gain,—who, in a city much given to evil speaking, and in an office surrounded with suspicion avoided, not only all accusation, but even a single hard name? I pass over points which I ought not to pass over that in his private affairs no covetous action, no eagerness about money matters, no sordid conduct in the management of his estate can be alleged against him. By what witnesses, then, can I refute these men except by you?

Cicero, pro Flacco (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Flac.].
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