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4. [8]

First, I say that it is the duty of a virtuous senator at all times to attend the senate; and I do not agree with those who determine that they themselves will not come to the senate at unfavourable seasons, and who do not understand that this excessive obstinacy of theirs is exceedingly pleasant and acceptable to those men whose wishes they intend to counteract. “But some departed out of fear, because they thought that they could not remain with safety in the senate.” I do not name them, nor do I ask whether they had any real reason for fearing anything. I imagine that every one had a right to form his own opinion as to what grounds he had for fear. Do you ask why I was not afraid? Why, because it was known that you had gone away. Do you ask why, when some good men thought that they could not remain with safety in the senate, I did not think so too? or why, when I thought that it was impossible for me to remain in the city at all with safety, they did not think so too? Are then others to be allowed, and rightly enough, to have no fear for themselves at a time when I am in danger; and yet am I bound to be afraid not only when I am myself in peril, but when others are also?

[9] Or am I to be blamed because I did not express an opinion condemnatory of both the consuls? Ought I then to condemn those men, of all men in the world, by whose law it was brought about that I, who had never been condemned and who had deserved well of the republic, should be saved from enduring the punishment of condemned criminals? Was I, of all men in the world, I who had been restored to my former dignity by their means, to denounce by my expressed opinion the admirable sentiments of those men, who, even if they had been in error, ought to have been borne with by me and by all good men, on account of their exceeding good-will displayed in ensuring my preservation? And what were the opinions which I delivered? In the first place, that one which the common conversation of the people had already previously fixed in our minds; in the second place, that one which had been discussed in the senate on the preceding days; and thirdly, that which the senate in a very full house adopted, expressing its agreement with me; so that so sudden or novel proposition was brought forward by me, and moreover, if there be any fault in the opinion, it is sot more the fault of the individual who advanced it than of all those men who approved of it. [10] “But the decision of the senate was not free, because of the fear in which they were.” If you make out that they who left it were in fear, at least grant that they who remained were not alarmed. But if no free decision could be come to without the presence of those men who were absent at that time, I say that the motion about framing a resolution of the senate began to be made when every one was present; it was carried by acclamation by the entire senate.

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