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Did you, O you most horrible and foul monster! dare also to speak of that departure of mine,—that evidence or your wickedness and cruelty,—as if it were a subject for your abuse and insult? And when you did so, then, O conscript fathers, I received an immortal reward of your attachment to, and favourable opinion of me,—when you crushed the frenzy and insolence of that abject and frightened man, not only with a murmur, but with a loud and indignant outcry. [32] Will you speak of the mourning of the senate,—the regret of the equestrian order,—the universal sadness of Italy,—the silence of the senate-house, which lasted the whole year,—the uninterrupted vacation of the courts of justice and the forum,—and all the other circumstances of that time, as grounds for abuse of me? They were the wounds which my departure inflicted on the republic. And if my departure had been ever so full of calamity, still it would have been deserving of pity rather than of insult; and it would have been considered as connected with my glory rather than with any reproach; and it would have been accounted my misfortune only, but your crime and wickedness.

But when,—(perhaps this thing which I am about to say may appear a strange thing to you to hear, but still I will certainly say what I feel to be true,)—when I, O conscript fathers, have had such kindnesses and such honours conferred on me by you, I not only do not consider that a calamity, but, if I could have any feeling whatever unconnected with the interests of the republic, (which is hardly possible,) I should consider it, as far as my private interests were concerned, a fortune greatly to be wished for and desired by me. [33] And, if I may compare that day which was most joyful to you with that one which was most sorrowful to me, which do you think most desirable to a virtuous and wise man,—to depart from his country in such a manner that all his fellow-citizens pray for his safety, for his preservation, and for his return, which happened to me; or, (which happened to you when you left the city,) to depart in such a way that every one should curse him, should pray for harm to him, and should wish that that road might be his only one? I call the gods to witness, that if I were so hated by all mortals,—especially if I were so justly and deservedly hated,—I should think any banishment whatever preferable to any province that could be given to me.

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