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[32]

In truth, O conscript fathers, now we have begun to entertain hopes of liberty again, after a period of six years, during which we have been deprived of it, having endured slavery longer than prudent and industrious prisoners usually do, what watchfulness, what anxiety, what exertions ought we to shrink from, for the sake of delivering the Roman people? In truth, O conscript fathers, though men who have had the honors conferred on them that we have, usually wear their gowns, while the rest of the city is in the robe of war, still I decided that at such a momentous crisis, and when the whole republic was in so disturbed a state, we would not differ in our dress from you and the rest of the citizens. For we men of consular rank are not in this war conducting ourselves in such a manner that the Roman people will be likely to look with equanimity on the ensigns of our honor, when some of us are so cowardly as to have cast away all recollection of the kindnesses which they have received from the Roman people; some are so disaffected to the republic that they openly allege that they favor this enemy, and easily bear having our ambassadors despised and insulted by Antonius, while they wish to support the ambassador sent by Antonius. For they said that he ought not to be prevented from returning to Antonius, and they proposed an amendment to my proposition of not receiving him. Well, I will submit to them. Let Varius return to his general, but on condition that he never returns to Rome. And as to the others, if they abandon their errors, and return to their duty to the republic, I think they may he pardoned and left unpunished.

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