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[55] "We did not vote the governorship of Cisalpine Gaul to Antony. The people gave it to him by a law, Cicero being present; just as other provinces had often been given, and as this same governorship had previously been given to C├Žsar. It was a part of this law that, when Antony should arrive at the province given to him, if Decimus would not yield it Antony should declare war and lead the army into the Gallic province against him, instead of using it against the Thracians, who were still quiet. But Cicero does not consider Decimus, who is bearing arms against the law, an enemy, although he considers Antony an enemy who is fighting in accordance with law. He who accuses the law itself accuses the authors of the law, whom he ought to change by persuasion, not to insult after having himself agreed with them.1 He ought not to intrust the province to Decimus, whom the people drove out of the city on account of the murder, while refusing to intrust to Antony what the people gave to him. It is not the part of good counsellors to be at variance with the people, especially in times of danger, or to forget that this very power of deciding who are friends and who are enemies formerly belonged to the people. According to the ancient laws the people are the sole arbiters of peace and war. Heaven grant that they may not be reminded of this, and consequently be angry with us when they have found a leader.

1 This is absurd and impossible. The Epitome of Livy (cxvii.) says that the law for the exchange of provinces was passed by Antony by violence. It was probably among those mentioned by Cicero in the fifth Philippic (3 and 4) as passed under military compulsion and in violation of the auspices. Not only was a tremendous thunder-storm raging "so that Jove himself seemed to be prohibiting it by clamor from the skies," but the approaches to the forum were so fenced in "that it would have been impossible to gain entrance without tearing down the barricade even if no armed soldiers had stood in the way."

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