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3. [6]

But, if I alone were in danger, I would bear it, O Romans, with more equanimity; but there appears to me to be some men determined, if they think that I have done anything wrongly not only intentionally, but even by chance, to blame all of you for having preferred me to the nobles. But I think, O Romans that I ought to endure everything rather than not discharge the duties of my consulship in such a manner, as by all my actions and counsels to compel men to praise your action and counsel with respect to me. There is also this added to the great labour and difficulty which I see before me in discharging the duties of my office, that I have made up my mind that I ought not to adopt the same rule and principle of conduct which former consuls have; some of whom have carefully avoided all approach to this place, and the sight of you, and others have at all events not been very fond of it. But I not only declare in this place where it is exceedingly easy to do it, but I said in my very first speech on the first of January, in the senate itself, which did not seem likely to be so favourable a place for the expression, that I would be a consul in the interests of the people. [7] Nor is it possible for me, knowing, as I do, that I have been made consul, not by the zeal of the powerful citizens, nor by the preponderating influence of a few men, but by the deliberate judgment of the Roman people, and that, too, in such a way as to be preferred to men of the very highest rank, to avoid, both in this magistracy and throughout my whole life, devoting myself to the interests of the people.

When, however, I speak of the interests of the people, I have great need of your wisdom in giving the proper meaning and interpretation to this expression. For there is a great error abroad, by reason of the treacherous pretences made by some people, who, though they oppose and hinder not only the advantage but even the safety of the people, still endeavour by their speeches to make men believe them zealous for the interests of the people. [8] I, O Romans, know in what condition I received the republic on the first of January: full of anxiety, full of fear. There was no evil, no misfortune which the good were not dreading and the bad looking out for. Every sort of seditious design against the existing constitution of the republic, and against your tranquillity, was said to be in contemplation,—some such to have been actually set on foot the moment we were elected consuls. All confidence was banished from the forum, not by the stroke of any new calamity, but by the general suspicion entertained of the courts of justice, and by the disorder into which they had fallen, and by the constant reversal of previous decisions. New authority, extraordinary powers, suited not to commanders, but to kings, were supposed to be aimed at.

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