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2 41. [103] Oh that night which that day followed! happy was it for this city; but, wretched man that I am, I fear it may still prove disastrous to me myself. What spirit was then shown by Lucius Flaccus! (for I will say nothing about myself,) what devotion to his country, what virtue, what firmness! But why do I speak of those things which then, at the time that they happened, were extolled to the skies by the cordial agreement of all men, by the unanimous voice of the Roman people, by the testimony in their favour of the whole world? Now I fear, not only that they may be no advantage to my client, but that they may even be some injury to him. Indeed, I sometimes fancy that the memory of bad men is much more lively than that of good men. It is I, if any disaster happens to you, O Flaccus, it is I who shall have betrayed you; it is that pledge of mine which will be in fault, that promise of mine, that undertaking of mine, when I promised, that if we by our joint efforts could preserve the republic, you, as long as you lived, should not only be defended, but also honoured by the espousal of your cause by all virtuous men. I did think, O judges, I did hope that, even if our honour appeared to you a consideration of no importance at all events you would take care of our safety. [104] But if, O judges, this terrible injury should overwhelm Lucius Flaccus (may the immortal gods avert the omen!) still he will never repent of having provided for your safety, of having consulted the interests of you, and of your wives, and of your children, and your entire welfare. It will always be his feeling that he owed such sentiments to the nobleness of his race, and to his religion, and to his country; you, O judges, take care that you have no cause to repent of not having spared such a citizen. For how few are they who adopt these principles in the republic; who desire only to please you and men like you; who think the authority of every virtuous and honourable man and body of men of the greatest weight, seeing that that path is both the one which leads most easily to honours and everything which they desire.

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