Cicero, pro Sulla (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Sul.].
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I should have been very glad, O judges, if Publius Sulla had been able formerly to retain the honour of the dignity to which he was appointed, and had been allowed, after the misfortune which befell him, to derive some reward from his moderation in adversity. But since his unfriendly fortune has brought it about that he has been damaged, even at a time of his greatest honour, by the unpopularity ensuing not only from the common envy which pursues ambitious men, but also by the singular hatred in which Autronius is held, and that even in this sad and deplorable wreck of his former fortunes, he has still some enemies whose hostility he is unable to appease by the punishment which has fallen upon him; although I am very greatly concerned at his distresses, yet in his other misfortunes I can easily endure that an opportunity should be offered to me of causing virtuous men to recognise my lenity and merciful disposition, which was formerly known to every one, but which has of late been interrupted as it were; and of forcing wicked and profligate citizens, being again defeated and vanquished, to confess that, when the republic was in danger, I was energetic and fearless; now that it is said, I am lenient and merciful.

2 And since Lucius Torquatus, O judges, my own most intimate friend, O judges, has thought that if he violated our friendship and intimacy somewhat in his speech for the prosecution, he could by that means detract a little from the authority of my defence, I will unite with my endeavours to ward off danger from my client a defence of my own conduct in the discharge of my duty. Not that I would employ that sort of speech at present, O judges, if my own interest alone were concerned, for on many occasions and in many places I have had, and I often shall have, opportunities of speaking of my own credit. But as he, O judges, has thought that the more he could take away from my authority, the more also he would be diminishing my client's means of protection; I also think, that if I can induce you to approve of the principles of my conduct and my wisdom in this discharge of my duty and in undertaking this defence, I shall also induce you to look favourably on the cause of Publius Sulla.

3 And in the first place, O Torquatus, I ask you this why you should separate me from the other illustrious and chief men of this city, in regard to this duty, and to the right of defending clients? For what is the reason why the act of Quintus Hortensius a most illustrious man and a most accomplished citizen, is not blamed by you, and mine is blamed? For if a design of firing the city, and of extinguishing this empire, and of destroying this city, was entertained by Publius Sulla ought not such projects to raise greater indignation and greater hatred against their authors in me than in Quintus Hortensius? Ought not my opinion to be more severe in such a matter, as to whom I should think fit to assist in these causes, whom to oppose, whom to defend, and whom to abandon? No doubt, says he, for it was you who investigated, you who laid open the whole conspiracy.

ch. 2


And when he says this, he does not perceive that the man who laid it open took care that all men should see that which had previously been hidden. Wherefore that conspiracy, if it was laid open by me, is now as evident in all its particulars to Hortensius as it is to me. And when you see that he, a man of such rank, and authority, and virtue, and

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wisdom, has not hesitated to defend this innocent Publius Sulla, I ask why the access to the cause which was open to Hortensius, ought to be closed against me? I ask this also,—if you think that I, who defend him, am to he blamed, what do you think of those excellent men and most illustrious citizens, by whose zeal and dignified presence you perceive that this trial is attended, by whom the cause of my client is honoured, by whom his innocence is upheld? For that is not the only method of defending a man's cause which consists in speaking for him. All who countenance him with their presence, who show anxiety in his behalf, who desire his safety, all, as far as their opportunities allow or their authority extends, are defending him.

5 Ought I to be unwilling to appear on these benches on which I see these lights and ornaments of the republic, when it is only by my own numerous and great labours and dangers that I have mounted into their rank, and into this lofty position and dignity which I now enjoy? And that you may understand, O Torquatus, whom you are accusing, if you are offended that I, who have defended no one on inquiries of this sort do not abandon Publius Sulla, remember also the other men, whom you see countenancing this man by their presence. You will see that their opinion and mine has been one and the same about this man's case, and about that of the others. Who of us stood by Varguntius? No one. Not even this Quintus Hortensius, the very man who had formerly been his only defender when prosecuted for corruption. For he did not think himself connected by any bond of duty with that man, when he, by the commission of such enormous wickedness, had broken asunder the ties of all duties whatever. Who of us countenanced Servius Sulla? who ? who of us thought Marcus Laeca or Caius Cornelius fit to be defended? who of all the men whom you see here gave the countenance of his presence to any one of those criminals?

6 No one. Why was that? Because in other causes good men think that they ought not to refuse to defend even guilty men, if they are their own intimate personal friends; but in this prosecution, there would not only be the fault of acting lightly, but there would be even some infection of wickedness which would taint one who defended that man whom he suspected of being involved in the guilt of planning the parricide of his country.

Cicero, pro Sulla (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Sul.].
<<Cic. Sul. 1 Cic. Sul. 1 (Latin) >>Cic. Sul. 10

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