No doubt you are surprised to hear from me. An opportunity to send you a message does not often come, you know. And while you probably seldom think of me, I hope you will read this nonetheless. I want to get some things off my mind, and would also like to offer an explanation for my action.

You don’t know anything about me, really, for I am almost a total stranger to you. For you to attempt a character reference of anyone you knew so slightly would be unthinkable. Yet I understand you are all very quick to damn me to Hell—just because of one small decision I made.

Believe me, a man doesn’t know when he is well off. In my early manhood in Rome, I had thought of nothing else than being a member of the legal profession. I was well bred according to standards of my day. My parents did not force their religious beliefs upon their children. They let them decide for themselves whether they wanted to become religious when they reached adulthood.

I found no interference from things of morals or religion. I wanted and got power, position, and wealth. I was reputed to be one of the best young lawyers in Rome. I enjoyed confusing witnesses. When they (and I) knew that my client was guilty, I delighted in seeing them doubt what they knew was true. Of course, not all my clients were guilty, but when they were, they paid more. What I did was not wrong! Isn’t every man entitled to a fair trial and the best lawyer possible? Am I to blame because stupid jurors were easy to fool?

Of course I made money! I had great desire for wealth, but I don’t need to tell you about greed and selfishness. You put us to shame in that regard. But like you, I never made enough and my wife reminded me of this constantly. This is one reason I was so pleased to hear ...

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