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38. [81]

And do you not see, O judges, what other evil there is added to these evils? I am addressing you,—you, O Cato. Do you not foresee a storm in your year of office? for in yesterday's assembly there thundered out the mischievous voice of a tribune 1 elect one of your own colleagues; against whom your own mind took many precautions, and so too did all good men, when they invited you to stand for the tribuneship. Everything which has been plotted for the last three years, from the time when you know that the design of massacring the senate was first formed by Lucius Catiline and by Cnaeus Piso, is now breaking out on these days, in these months, at this time. [82] What place is there, O judges, what time, what day, what night is there, that I have not been delivered and escaped from their plots and attacks, not only by my own prudence, but much more by the providence of the gods? It was not that they wished to slay me as an individual, but that they wished to get rid of a vigilant consul, and to remove him from the guardianship of the republic; and they would be just as glad, O Cato, to remove you too, if they could by any means contrive to do so; and believe me, that is what they are wishing and planning to do. They see how much courage, how much ability, how much authority, how much protection for the republic there is in you; but they think that, when they have once seen the power of the tribunes stripped of the support which it derives from the authority and assistance of the consuls, they will then find it easier to crush you when you are deprived of your arms and vigour. For they have no fear of another consul being elected in the place of this one; they see that that will depend upon your colleagues; they hope that Silanus, any colleague; and that so will you without any consul; and that so will the republic without any protector. [83] When such an illustrious man, will be exposed to their attacks without are our circumstances, and such our perils, it becomes you, O Marcus Cato, who have been born, not for my good, nor for your own good, but for that of your country, to perceive what are their real objects; to retain as your assistant and defender, and partner in the republic, a consul who has no private desires to gratify, a consul (as this season particularly requires) formed by fortune to court ease, but by knowledge to carry on war, and by courage and practice to discharge in a proper manner whatever business you can impose upon him.


1 He means Quintus Metellus Nepos, the same man who afterwards prevented his making an address to the people on his resigning his consulship.

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