Cicero, pro Quinctio (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Quinct.].
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The two things which have the greatest influence in a state,—namely, the greatest interest, and eloquence, are both making against us at the present moment; and while I am awed [Note] by the one, O Caius Aquillius, I am in fear of the other:—I am somewhat awed, apprehending that the eloquence of Quinctius Hortensius may embarrass me in speaking; but I am in no slight fear lest the interest of Sextus Naevius may injure Publius Quinctius.

2And yet it would not seem so disastrous for us that these things should exist in the highest degree in the other party, if they existed also to a moderate extent in us; but the fact is, that I, who have neither sufficient experience nor much ability, am brought into comparison with a most eloquent advocate; and that Publius Quinctius, who has but small influence, no riches, and few friends, is contending with a most influential adversary.

3 And, moreover, we have this additional disadvantage, that Marcus Junius, who has several times pleaded this cause before you, O Aquillius, a man practised in the conduct of other causes also, and much and frequently concerned in this particular one, is at this moment absent, being engaged on his new commission; [Note] and so they have had recourse to me, who, even if I had all other requisite qualifications in ever so high a degree, have certainly scarcely had time enough to be able to understand so important a business, having so many points of dispute involved in it

4so that also, which has been used to be an assistance to me in other causes, is wanting to me in this one; for in proportion to my want of ability, have I endeavoured to make amends for that want by industry, and unless time and space be given to one, it cannot be seen how great his industry is. But the greater our disadvantages, O Caius Aquillius, are, with so much the more favourable a disposition ought you, and those who are your colleagues in this trial, to listen to our words, that the truth, though weakened by many disadvantages, may be at last reestablished by the equity of such men as you.

5 But if you, being the judge, shall appear to be no protection to a desolate and helpless condition against power and influence; if before this tribunal the cause is found to depend on interest, not on truth; then indeed there is nothing any longer holy and uncontaminated in the state—no hope that the firmness and virtue of the judge may counterbalance the lowly condition of any one. But undoubtedly before you and your colleagues truth will prevail, or else, if it be driven from this place by power and influence, it will not be able to find any place where it can stand.

ch. 2

I do not say this, O Caius Aquillius, because I have any doubt of your own good faith and constancy, or because Publius Quinctius ought not to have the greatest hopes from those whom you have called in as your assessors, being, as they are, among the most eminent [Note] men in the state.

6 What then? In the first place, the magnitude of the danger causes a man the greatest fear, because he is staking all his fortunes on one trial; and while he is thinking of this, the recollection of your power does not occur to his mind less frequently than that of your justice; because all men whose lives are in another's hand more frequently think of what he, in whose power and under whose dominion they are, can do, than of what he ought to do,—

7 Secondly, Publius Quinctius has for his adversary, in name indeed, Sextus Naevius, but in reality, the most eloquent, the most gallant, the most accomplished men of our state, who are defending Sextus Naevius with one common zeal, and with all their power: if, indeed, defending means so to comply with the desire of another, that he may the more easily be able to overwhelm whomsoever he chooses by an unjust trial;

8 for what, O Caius Aquillius, can be mentioned or spoken of more unjust or more unworthy than this, that I who am defending the liberties, [Note] the fame, and fortunes of another should be compelled to open the cause, especially when Quintus Hortensius, who in this trial fills the part of the accuser, is to speak against me; a man to whom nature has given the greatest possible fluency and energy in speaking? Matters are so managed, that I, who ought rather to ward off the darts of our adversary and to heal the wounds he has inflicted, am compelled to do so now, even when the adversary has cast no dart; and that that time is given to them to attack us when the power of avoiding their attacks is to be taken from us; and if in any particular they should (as they are well prepared to do) cast any false accusation like a poisoned arrow at us, there will be no opportunity for applying a remedy.

9 That has happened through the injustice and wrong-doing of the praetor; first, because, contrary to universal custom, he has chosen that the trial as to honour or infamy [Note] should take place before the one concerning the fact; secondly, because he has so arranged this very trial, that the defendant is compelled to plead his cause before he has heard a word of the accuser's; and this has been done because of the influence and power of those men who indulge the violence and covetousness of Sextus Naevius as eagerly as if their own property or honour were at stake, and who make experiment of their influence in such matters as this, in which the more weight they have through their virtue and nobility, the less they ought to make a parade of what influence they have.

Cicero, pro Quinctio (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Quinct.].
<<Cic. Quinct. 1 Cic. Quinct. 1 (Latin) >>Cic. Quinct. 12

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