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[11] As for corn, some of the countries which usually supply it had not got it; some had sent it into other countries, I imagine because of the great variety of sellers; and some were keeping it back, shut up in their stores, in order suddenly to send it, so that the supply might be more acceptable if they seemed to come to our aid when we were in a state of actual famine. The matter was not one of uncertain opinions, it was a case of actually existing danger, present to our eyes; it was not one which we were looking forward to in conjecture, but one which we were actually beholding by present experience. For when the scarcity was getting more severe, so that it was actually want and famine that was dreaded, and not mere dearness of price, there was a rush towards the Temple of Concord, when the consul Metellus summoned the senate to meet in that place. And if that was the genuine effect of the grief of men suffering under famine, certainly the consuls had good reason to undertake the affair, certainly the senate had good reason to adopt some determination or other.

But if the scarcity was the pretext, and if you in reality were the exciter and kindler of sedition, ought we not all to have striven to take away all shadow of pretext for your madness?

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