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[4] Therefore, at last it was owing to your authority and your zeal that that very year which I had preferred to have fatal to myself rather than to my country, elected these men as tribunes, who proposed a law concerning my safety, and constantly brought it under your notice. For the consuls being modest men, and having a regard for the laws, were hindered by a law, not by the one which had been passed concerning me, but by one respecting themselves, when my enemy had carried a clause, that when those men had come to life again who nearly destroyed the state, then I might return to the city. By which action he confessed two things—both that he longed for them to be living, and also that the republic would be in great peril, if either the enemies and murderers of the republic came to life again, or if I did not return.

Therefore, in that very year when I had departed, and when the chief man of the state was forced to defend his own life, not by the protection of the laws, but by that of his own walls,—when the republic was without consuls, and bereft, like an orphan, not only of its regular parents, but even of its annual guardians,—when you were forbidden to deliver your opinions,—when the chief clause of my proscription was repeatedly read,—still you never hesitated to consider my safety as united with the general welfare.

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