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30. [72]

I will now reply to you, O Laterensis, perhaps less vigorously than I have been attacked by you and certainly in a manner not more destitute of consideration for, or of friendly feeling towards you than your manner was towards me. For in the first place that was rather a harsh thing for you to say, that in what I was saying about Plancius I was speaking falsely, and inventing statements to suit the emergency. I suppose, forsooth, I, like a wise man, planned how I might appear bound to another by the greatest bonds of kindness and gratitude when I was in reality a free man and under no obligation at all. Why need I have done so? Had I not plenty of reasons besides for defending Plancius? were not my own intimacy with him, my neighbourhood to him, and my friendship for his father, sufficiently cogent motives? And even if they had not existed, I had reason to fear, I suppose, lest I should be doing a discreditable thing in defending a man of his high respectability and worth. It must have been a very clever idea of mine to pretend that I owed everything to that man who was about to owe everything to me! But this is a thing which even common soldiers do against their will, and they are reluctant to give a civic crown to a citizen, and to confess that they have been saved by any one; not because it is discreditable to have been protected in battle, or to be saved out of the hands of the enemy, (for in truth that is a thing which can only happen to a brave man, and to one fighting hand to hand with the enemy,) but they dread the burden of the obligation, because it is an enormous thing to be under the same obligation to a stranger that one is to a parent. [73] But because others deny kindnesses which they have received, even when they are of less importance, in order not to appear under any obligation, am I on that account speaking falsely, when I say that I am bound to a man by his previous services done to me, for which it is quite impossible for me to make any adequate return? Are you ignorant of this, O Laterensis?—you who being, as you were, a great friend of mine, and willing to share with me even the danger with which my life was at that time threatened,—when you had escorted me in that hope of my sad and bitter agony and departure from the city not only with your tears, but also with your courage and your person, and with all your resources,—when you had in my absence defended with all your means, and all your power of protection, my children and my wife, were always pressing this statement upon me, that you willingly allowed and granted that I should employ all my zeal in contributing to the honour of Cnaeus Plancius because you said that the services which he had done me were acceptable to you yourself also. [74]

And is not even that oration, which is the first which I made in the senate after my return, a proof that I am saying nothing new now,—nothing just to meet the emergency? For as in that I returned thanks to very few by name, because it was quite impossible to enumerate all those who had served me, (and it would have been a crime to press over any one,) and because I had therefore laid down a rule for myself to name those men only who had been the leaders and standard-bearers as it were in our cause; still among them I returned thanks to Plancius by name. Let the oration be read—which, on account of the importance of the business was pronounced from a written paper, in which I, cunning fellow that I must have been, gave myself up to a man to whom I was under no very great obligation and bound myself to the slavery of this duty which I am now discharging by this undying testimony against myself. I do not wish to recite the other things which I committed to writing. I pass them over, that I may not seem to bring them up now on this emergency, or to avail myself of that description of learning which appears to be more suitable to my private studies than to the usages of courts of justice.

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