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Annals by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book IV Chapter 30: Father and son Serenus (cont.)[AD 24]
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The Senate then gave their votes that Serenus should be punished according to ancient precedent, when the emperor, to soften the odium of the affair, interposed with his veto. Next, Gallus Asinius proposed that he should be confined in Gyaros or Donusa, but this he rejected, on the ground that both these islands were deficient in water, and that he whose life was spared, ought to be allowed the necessaries of life. And so Serenus was conveyed back to Amorgus. In consequence of the suicide of Cornutus, it was proposed to deprive informers of their rewards whenever a person accused of treason put an end to his life by his own act before the completion of the trial. The motion was on the point of being carried when the emperor, with a harshness contrary to his manner, spoke openly for the informers, complaining that the laws would be ineffective, and the State brought to the verge of ruin. "Better," he said, "to subvert the constitution than to remove its guardians." Thus the informers, a class invented to destroy the commonwealth, and never enough controlled even by legal penalties, were stimulated by rewards. Dictis dein sententiis ut Serenus more maiorum puniretur, quo molliret invidiam, intercessit. Gallus Asinius cum Gyaro aut Donusa claudendum censeret, id quoque aspernatus est, egenam aquae utramque insulam referens dandosque vitae usus cui vita concederetur. ita Serenus Amorgum reportatur. et quia Cornutus sua manu ceciderat, actum de praemiis accusatorum abolendis, si quis maiestatis postulatus ante perfectum iudicium se ipse vita privavisset. ibaturque in eam sententiam ni durius contraque morem suum palam pro accusatoribus Caesar inritas leges, rem publicam in praecipiti conquestus esset: subverterent potius iura quam custodes eorum amoverent. sic delatores, genus hominum publico exitio repertum et ne, poenis quidem umquam satis coercitum,