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[28] Frightened out of his wits, he flies from the senate with a mind and countenance less agitated than it would have been a few years before, if he had fallen in with a crowd of his creditors. He convenes an assembly. He, the consul, addresses them in such a speech as even Catiline himself, if he had been victorious, would never have delivered. He said “that men were greatly mistaken if they thought that the senate had any power in the republic; and that the Roman knights should suffer severely for that day on which, in my consulship, they had appeared with their swords on the Capitoline Hill: that the time had come for those who had been in fear” (he evidently meant the conspirators) “to avenge themselves.” If he had said no more than this, he would have been worthy of the last extremity of punishment; for a mischievous speech of a consul can of itself undermine the republic. But see now what he did.


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