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On this, that noble man, so exceedingly worthy of being admitted into your counsels, praised you. Do you, then, you scoundrel, do you as consul condemn the senate for cruelty before an assembly of the people? For you are not condemning one who only obeyed the senate;—for that salutary and diligent report of the conspiracy was the work of the consul; the sentence and the punishment were the act of the senate. And when you find fault with them, you show what sort of consul you would have been at that time, if by chance it had so happened. You, I make no doubt would have considered that Catiline deserved to be aided with pay and provisions. For, what was the difference between Catiline and that man to whom you sold the authority of the senate, the safety of the state, and the whole republic, for the reward of a province? [15] For the consuls assisted Clodius while doing those very things which Catiline was only attempting when I as consul defeated his machinations. He, indeed, wished to massacre the senate; you two abolished it. He wished to destroy the laws by fire and sword; you two abrogated them. He wished the country to perish; you two aided him. What, during your consulship, was ever accomplished except by force of arms? That band of conspirators wished to fire the city; you two sought to burn the house of that man, to whom it was owing that the city was not burnt. And even these men, if they had a consul like you, would never have thought of burning the city: For they did not wish to deprive themselves of their homes; but as long as those consuls flourished, they thought that there would be no home for their wickedness. They desired the slaughter of the citizens; you desired to bring them to slavery; and in this were even more cruel than they; for, until your consulship, the spirit of liberty was so deeply implanted in this people, that they would have thought it preferable to die rather than to become slaves. [16] But that pair of you, acting on the designs of Catiline and Lentulus, expelled me from my house, and confined Cnaeus Pompeius to his; for they did not think that as long as I stood firm, and remained in the city exerting all my vigilance for its defence, and as long as Cnaeus Pompeius, the conqueror of all the world, opposed them, they should ever be able utterly to destroy the republic. You sought even to inflict punishment on me, by which you might make atonement to the shades of the dead conspirators. You poured forth upon me all the hatred which had been long nursed in the wicked feelings of impious men. And if I had not yielded for a while to their frenzy, I should have been murdered in the tomb of Catiline, under your leadership. But what greater proof do you want that there is no real difference between you and Catiline, than is the fact, that you awakened again that same band from the half-dead relics of Catiline's army? that you collected all abandoned men from all quarters? that you let loose against me the dregs of the prisons? that you armed conspirators? that you sought to expose my person and the lives of all good men to their frenzy and to their swords?

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