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[76]

Think not, O judges, that that violence and that attempt was the work of human beings; for no nation ever was so barbarous or so savage, as to have (I will not say so many, but even) one implacable enemy to his country. They were some savage and ferocious beasts, born of monsters, and clothed in human form. Look again and again, O judges; for there is nothing too violent to be said in such a cause as this. Look deeply and thoroughly into the minds of Catiline, Autronius, Cethegus, Lentulus, and the rest. What lusts you will find in these men, what crimes, what baseness, what audacity, what incredible insanity, what marks of wickedness, what traces of parricide, what heaps of enormous guilt! Out of the great diseases of the republic, diseases of long standing, which had been given over as hopeless, suddenly that violence broke out in such a way, that when it was put down and got rid of, the state might again be able to become convalescent and to be cured; for there is no one who thinks that if those pests remained in the republic, the Constitution could continue to exist any longer. Therefore they were some Furies who urged them on, not to complete their wickedness, but to atone to the republic for their guilt by their punishment.


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