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It is worth while, O conscript fathers, to know the inclinations of the freedmen; who, having by their good fortune obtained the rights of citizens, consider this to be really their country, which some who have been born here, and born in the highest rank, have considered to be not their own country, but a city of enemies. But why should I speak of men of this body whom their private fortunes, whom their common republic, whom, in short, that liberty which is most delightful has called forth to defend the safety of their country? There is no slave who is only in an endurable condition of slavery who does not shudder at the audacity of citizens, who does not desire that these things may stand, who does not contribute all the good-will that he can, and all that he dares, to the common safety.

[17] Wherefore, if this consideration moves any one, that it has been heard that some tool of Lentulus is running about the shops,—is hoping that the minds of some poor and ignorant men may be corrupted by bribery; that, indeed, has been attempted and begun, but no one has been found either so wretched in their fortune or so abandoned in their inclination as not to wish the place of their seat and work and daily gain, their chamber and their bed, and, in short, the tranquil course of their lives, to be still preserved to them. And far the greater part of those who are in the shops,—yes, indeed, (for that is the more correct way of speaking,) the whole of this class is of all the most attached to tranquillity; their whole stock, indeed, their whole employment and livelihood, exists by the peaceful intercourse of the citizens, and is wholly supported by peace. And if their gains are diminished whenever their shops are shut, what will they be when they are burnt? [18] And, as this is the case, O conscript fathers, the protection of the Roman people is not wanting to you; do you take care that you do not seem to be wanting to the Roman people.

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load focus Notes (J. B. Greenough, G. L. Kittredge)
load focus Latin (Albert Clark, Albert Curtis Clark, 1908)
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