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37. [78]

Oh, but it is the interest of the republic that has induced you to become a prosecutor. I do believe, O Cato, that you have come forward under the influence of those feelings and of that opinion. But you err out of ignorance. That which I am doing, O judges, I am doing out of regard to my friendship for Lucius Murena and to his own worth, and I also do assert and call you all to witness that I am doing it for the sake of peace, of tranquillity, of concord, of liberty, of safety,—yes, even for the sake of the lives of us all. Listen, O judges, listen to the consul,—I will not speak with undue arrogance, I will only say, who devotes all his thoughts day and night to the republic. Lucius Catiline did not despise and scorn the republic to such a degree as to think that with the forces which he took away with him he could subdue this city. The contagion of that wickedness spreads more widely than any one believes: more men are implicated in it than people are aware of. It is within the city,—the Trojan horse, I say, is within the city; but you shall never be surprised sleeping by that while I am consul. [79] You ask of me why I am afraid of Catiline? I am not; and I have taken care that no one should have any reason to be afraid of him; but I do say that those soldiers of his, whom I see present here, are objects of fear: nor is the army which Lucius Catiline now has with him as formidable as those men are who are said to have deserted that army; for they have not deserted it but they have been left by him as spies, as men placed in ambuscade, to threaten our lives and liberties. Those men are very anxious that an upright consul and an able general—a man connected both by nature and by fortune with the safety of the republic, should by your decision be removed from the office of protecting the city, from the guardianship of the state. Their swords and their audacity I have procured the rejection of in the campus, I have disarmed them in the forum, I have often checked them at my own house; but if you now give them up one of the consuls, they will have gained much more by your votes than by their own swords. That which I, in spite of the resistance of many, have managed and carried through, namely, that on the first of January there should be two consuls in the republic, is of great consequence, O judges. [80] Do not think that they should exploit ordinary counsels or the ordinary modes of proceeding
****** It is not some unjust law, some mischievous bribery, or some improprieties in the republic that have just been heard of; that are the real objects for your inquiry now. Plans have been formed in this state, O judges, for destroying the city, for massacring the citizens, for extinguishing the Roman name. They are citizens,—citizens, I say, (if indeed it is lawful to call them by this name,) who are forming and have formed these plans respecting their own country. Every day I am counteracting their designs, disarming their audacity, resisting their wickedness. But I warn you, O judges; my consulship is now just at an end. Do not refuse me a successor in my diligence; do not refuse me him, to whom I am anxious to deliver over the republic in a sound condition, that he may defend it from these great dangers.

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