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You say that the tribuneship of Plancius did not bring any assistance to my dignity. And in this place, (as you can do with the greatest truth,) you enumerate the godlike services done to me by Lucius Racilius, a most gallant and sensible man. And I never have concealed, and I shall at all times openly assert, that I am under the very greatest obligations to him, as I am to Cnaeus Plancius; for he never thought any contest, or any enmity, or any danger even of his life too great for him to encounter for the sake of my welfare, or of that of the republic. And I wish that the Roman people were not prevented by the violence and injustice of wicked men from proving to him their gratitude by their acts, and measuring it by the extent of my own. But if Plancius did not make the same exertions in my favour when he was tribune, you ought to think, not that his inclination was wanting, but that I, being already under such vast obligations to Plancius, was now content with the services of Racilius. [78]

Do you think that the judges will be the less inclined to do anything for my sake, because you accuse me of gratitude? Or, when the senators themselves, in that resolution of the senate which was passed in the monument of Marius,1 in which my safety was recommended to all nations, returned thanks to Plancius alone, (for he was the only defender of my safety, of all the magistrates or vice-magistrates, to whom the senate thought it proper to return thanks on my behalf,) shall I think that I myself am not bound to show my gratitude to him? And when you see all these things, what do you suppose must be my feelings towards you, O Laterensis? Do you think that there is any danger, or any labour, or any contest of so arduous a nature that I would shun it if it could advance not only your safety, but even your dignity? And I am so much the more, I will not say miserable, (for that is an expression which is inconsistent with the character of a virtuous man) but severely tried not because I am under obligations to many people, (for gratitude for kindness received is a very light burden) but because circumstances often happen, on account of the quarrels of some men who have deserved well of me with one another which make me fear that it is impossible for me to appear grateful to them all at the same time. [79] But I must weigh in my own scales not only what I owe to each individual, but also of what importance the case is to each person, and what the necessities of each require of me at the particular moment.

1 The decree for Cicero's return was passed in a temple built by Marius, and called on that account Marius' monument, and this was a circumstance that had specially delighted Cicero, as being in accordance with a dream of his when he first left Rome, in which he fancied that Marius had appeared to him, and had ordered his lictor to conduct him to his monument, telling him that he should find safety there. Vide Cic. de Divin. i. 28.

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