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I am therefore compelled to say that which I would not say if I were not compelled. (For I have never said anything at all in the way of extolling myself for the sake of gaining praise, but only with a view to repel an accusation.) I say, therefore, and I say it with the loudest voice I can command, when the inflamed violence of all the profligate citizens and conspirators, a tribune of the people being the leader, the consuls being their instigators, the senate being beaten down, the Roman knights being terrified, the whole city being in suspense and anxiety, was making an attack, not so much on me as, through me, on all good men—I say that I then saw that if I conquered, there would be but little of the republic left, and if I were conquered, none at all. And when I had decided that this would be the case, I lamented indeed my separation from my unhappy wife, the desolate state of my most beloved children, the distress of my most affectionate and excellent brother, who was away, and the sudden ruin of a family which had seemed so thoroughly established; but still I preferred to all these considerations the safety of my fellow-citizens, and I preferred that the republic should rather fall, if fall it must through the departure of one man, than through the slaughter of every one. I hoped (as indeed happened) that I, though overthrown, might be raised again by gallant men who were still alive; but I expected that if I perished, involving all virtuous men in my fall, I could not by any possibility be recovered.

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