iudiciis, perspicio quantum in agendo difficultatis et quantum laboris sit habitura.
3Sed in hac difficultate illa me res tamen, iudices, consolatur, quod vos de criminibus sic audire consuestis, ut eorum omnem dissolutionem ab oratore quaeratis, ut non existimetis plus vos ad salutem reo largiri oportere, quam quantum defensor purgandis criminibus consequi et dicendo probare potuerit: de invidia autem sic inter vos disceptare debetis, ut non quid dicatur a nobis, sed quid oporteat dici consideretis. Agitur enim in criminibus A. Cluenti proprium periculum, in invidia causa communis. Quam ob rem alteram partem causae sic agemus, ut vos doceamus, alteram sic, ut oremus. In altera diligentia vestra nobis adiungenda est, in altera fides imploranda. Nemo est enim qui invidiae sine vestro ac sine talium virorum subsidio possit resistere.
4Equidem quod ad me attinet, quo me vertam nescio: negem fuisse illam infamiam iudicii corrupti? negem esse illam rem agitatam in contionibus, iactatam in iudiciis, commemoratam in senatu? evellam ex animis hominum tantam opinionem, tam penitus insitam, tam vetustam? Non est nostri ingenii; vestri auxilii est, iudices, huius innocentiae sic in hac calamitosa fama quasi in aliqua perniciosissima flamma atque in communi incendio subvenire.
5II. Etenim sicut aliis in locis parum firmamenti et
involve in its treatment a degree of toil and difficulty of which I am well aware.
But in the face of this difficulty I console myself3 with the reflection that whereas, in hearing a charge, it is your custom to look wholly to the speaker for its refutation, and not to think that it is any duty of your own to contribute anything to the defendant’s acquittal beyond what his counsel can secure by refuting the charge or justify by his arguments; in dealing on the other hand with prejudice, you ought, as you discuss the case among yourselves, to take into consideration the pleas that should be, rather than those that are, advanced by counsel. For in the actual charges against him only my client’s interests are at stake, but the question of prejudice involves the interest of us all. And so, in one part of my speech I shall use the language of demonstration, in the other, that of entreaty: in one I need your careful attention, in the other I must implore your goodwill: for no man can hope to withstand prejudice without your support and that of men like you.
For my part, I confess I know not where to turn:4 am I to say that there never was a scandal over the corruption of that court; or that it never was discussed at the street-corners, bandied about in the law courts, commented on in the Senate? Am I to expunge from public opinion such firm impressions, so deeply and so long ingrained? That is beyond my power. Yours, gentlemen, is the power to help my innocent client, to come to his rescue when beset by this disastrous calumny, as it were by some ruinous fire, some conflagration threatening all alike.
II. Moreover, though elsewhere truth is all too5