Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson
Under such circumstances, as a matter of course, morality and family life were treated as antiquated things among all ranks of society. To be poor was not merely the sorest disgrace and the worst crime, but the only disgrace and the only crime: for money the statesman sold the state, and the burgess sold his freedom; the post of the officer and the vote of the juryman were to be had for money; for money the lady of quality surrendered her person as well as the common courtesan; falsifying of documents and perjuries had become so common that in a popular poet of this age an oath is called "the plaster for debts."
Men had forgotten what honesty was; a person who refused a bribe was regarded not as an upright man, but as a personal foe. The criminal statistics of all times and countries will hardly furnish a parallel to the dreadful picture of crimes--so varied, so horrible, and so unnatural--which the trial of Aulus Cluentius unrolls before us in the bosom of one of the most respected families of an Italian country town.
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