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That most prudent man, Lucius Cotta, a man most deeply attached to the republic and to me, and above all to truth, saw this when he delivered his opinion on the first of January. He then considered it unnecessary that any law should be passed for my return. He said that I had consulted the interests of the republic; that I had yielded to the tempest; that I had been more friendly to you and to the rest of the citizens than to myself and to my own relations; that I had been driven away by the disturbances of a body of men banded together for purposes of bloodshed, and by an unprecedented exercise of power; that no law could possibly have been passed affecting my status as a citizen; that no law had been drawn up in writing, that none could have any validity; that everything had been done in disregard of the laws and of the usages of our ancestors, in a rash and turbulent manner, by violence and frenzy. But if that were a law, then it was not lawful for the consuls to refer the matter to the senate,1 nor for him himself to express his opinion upon it in the senate. And as both these things were being done, it was not right that it should be decreed that a law should be passed concerning me, lest that which was no law at all, should be in consequence decided to be a law. No opinion could be truer, sounder, more expedient, or better for the republic. For the wickedness and frenzy of the man being stigmatized by it, all danger of similar disgrace to the republic for the future was removed.

1 Because a lex, properly so called, was only passed in the comitia centuriata, not in the senate. Vide Smith, Dict. Ant. v. Lex.

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