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[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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