I did not choose, after I had as consul maintained the general safety of the state without having recourse to arms, to take arms as a private individual in my own cause; I preferred that virtuous men should grieve for my fortune rather than despair of their own; and if I were slain by myself; that I thought would be a shameful end for me; but if I were slain with many others, that I thought would be fatal to the republic. If I had supposed that eternal misery was before me, I would rather have endured death than everlasting agony. But I felt sure that I should not be absent from this city any longer than the constitution itself was, and, while that was banished, I thought it no longer desirable for myself that I should remain in it; and in accordance with my expectation, as soon as ever the constitution was restored, it brought me back in triumph as its companion. The laws were all banished as well as I, the courts of justice were banished as well as I; the prerogatives of the magistrates, the authority of the senate, the liberty of the citizens, even the fruitfulness of the land, all piety and all religion, whether it was with respect to men or gods, were all banished from the state when I was banished. And if they had been lost to you for ever, I should mourn over your fortunes rather than regret the loss of my home amongst you; but if they were ever restored, I was quite sure that I should be enabled to return with them.
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THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO AFTER HIS RETURN. ADDRESSED TO THE SENATE.
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