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[29]

And I who have been received in all those discussions with silent attention now that the question is about the provinces which are to be decreed to the consuls am interrupted; though in all the former transactions it was only a compliment to an individual that I urged, while now I have no motive but the consideration of the war and the general welfare of the republic. For, as for Caesar himself, what reason can there be why he should wish any longer to remain in the province, except for the purpose of not giving over to the republic the measures which have been undertaken by him before they are completely consummated? It is the delightful nature of the country, I suppose, and the splendour of the cities, and the civilized state and accomplished habits of those nations and natives,—it is a desire for victory, it is a wish to extend the boundaries of our empire, that detains him there! What is there anywhere more severe than those countries? what more uncivilized than their towns? what more barbarous than their citizens? Moreover what can be imagined more desirable than the victories which he has already gained or what can be discovered beyond the ocean? Is his return to his country likely to be disagreeable to any one? Can it be so either to the people by whom he was sent on his command, or to the senate from whom he has received so many distinctions? Does time foster his wish to see his country again, or does it rather increase his forgetfulness of it? And do those laurels of his which he has gained amid such dangers, lose their greenness by the time that elapses after their acquisition? If, then, there be any one who is not attached to that man, still such an one has no reason for recalling him from his province. It is only recalling him to glory to triumph, to receive congratulations, to receive the highest honours which the senate can bestow, to receive the thanks of the equestrian order, and to become the object of the devoted affection of the people.


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