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Marcus Cato   


man; which, in an office of such great power, was likely to prove most
uncompromising and severe. And so, consulting among themselves, they
brought forward seven candidates in opposition to him, who
sedulously set themselves to court the people's favour by fair
promises, as though what they wished for was indulgent and easy
government. Cato, on the contrary, promising no such mildness, but
plainly threatening evil livers, from the very hustings openly
declared himself, and exclaiming that the city needed a great and
thorough purgation, called upon the people, if they were wise, not
to choose the gentlest, but the roughest of physicians; such a one, he
said, he was, and Valerius Flaccus, one of the patricians, another;
together with him, he doubted not but he should do something worth the
while, and that by cutting to pieces and burning like a hydra all
luxury and voluptuousness. He added, too, that he saw all the rest
endeavouring after the office with ill intent, because they were
afraid of those who would exercise it justly, as they ought. And so
truly great and so worthy of great men to be its leaders was, it would
seem the Roman people, that they did not fear the severity and grim
countenance of Cato, but rejecting those smooth promisers who were
ready to do all things to ingratiate themselves, they took him,
together with Flaccus; obeying his recommendations not as though he
were a candidate, but as if he had had the actual power of
commanding and governing already.
Cato named, as chief of the senate, his friend and colleague
Lucius Valerius Flaccus, and expelled, among many others, Lucius
Quintius, who had been consul seven years before, and (which was
greater honour to him than the consulship) brother to that Titus
Flaminius who overthrew King Philip. The reason he had for his
expulsion was this. Lucius, it seems, took along with him in all his
commands a youth whom he had kept as his companion from the flower
of his age, and to whom he gave as much power and respect as to the
chiefest of his friends and relations.
Now it happened that Lucius being consular governor of one of the
provinces, the youth setting himself down by him, as he used to do,
among other flatteries with which he played upon him, when he was in
his cups, told him he loved him so dearly that, "though there was a
show of gladiators to be seen at Rome, and I," he said, "had never
beheld one in my life; and though I, as it were, longed to see a man
killed, yet I made all possible haste to come to you." Upon this
Lucius, returning his fondness, replied, "Do not be melancholy on that
account; I can remedy that." Ordering therefore, forthwith, one of
those condemned to die to be brought to the feast, together with the
headsman and axe, he asked the youth if he wished to see him executed.
The boy answering that he did, Lucius commanded the executioner to cut
off his neck; and this several historians mention; and Cicero, indeed,
in his dialogue de Senectute, introduces Cato relating it himself. But
Livy says that he that was killed was a Gaulish deserter, and that
Lucius did not execute him by the stroke of the executioner, but
with his own hand; and that it is so stated in Cato's speech.
Lucius being thus expelled out of the senate by Cato, his brother
took it very ill, and appealing to the people, desired that Cato
should declare his reasons; and when he began to relate this
transaction of the feast, Lucius endeavoured to deny it; but Cato
challenging him to a formal investigation, he fell off and refused it,
so that he was then acknowledged to suffer deservedly. Afterwards,
however, when there was some show at the theatre, he passed by the
seats where those who had been consuls used to be placed, and taking
his seat a great way off, excited the compassion of the common people,
who presently with a great noise made him go forward, and as much as
they could tried to set right and salve over what had happened.
Manilius, also, who, according to the public expectation, would have
been next consul, he threw out of the senate, because, in the presence
of his daughter, and in open day, he had kissed his wife. He said
that, as for himself, his wife never came into his arms except when

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