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What is at stake now on your part is this,—your eager wishes, or even, if you like, your reputation and the glory of the aedileship. But on the side of Cnaeus Plancius, it is his safety, his rights as a Roman and a citizen which are in peril. You wished me to be safe; he even ensured every safety by his actions. Yet I am torn asunder and rent in pieces by grief—I do grieve that in a contest where the stakes are so unequal, you should be offended by my conduct, but, I declare most solemnly, I would much rather endanger my own safety on your behalf than abandon the safety of Cnaeus Plancius to your hostility in this contest. [80] In truth, O judges, while I wish to be adorned with every virtue, yet there is nothing which I can esteem more highly than the being and appearing grateful. For this one virtue is not only the greatest, but is also the parent of all the other virtues. What is filial affection, but a grateful inclination towards one's parents?—who are good citizens, who are they who deserve well of their country both in war and at home but they who recollect the kindness which they have received from their country?—who are pious men who are men attentive to religious obligations, but they who with proper honours and with a grateful memory acquit themselves to the immortal gods of the gratitude which they owe to them?—what pleasure can there be in life, if friendships be taken away?—and, moreover, what friendship can exist between ungrateful people?— [81] Who of us has been liberally educated, by whom his bringers up, and his teachers, and his governors, and even the very mute place itself in which he has been brought up and taught, are not preserved in his mind with a grateful recollection?—who ever can have, or who ever had such resources in himself as to be able to stand without many acts of kindness on the part of many friends?—and yet no such acts can possibly exist, if you take away memory and gratitude. I, in truth, think nothing so much the peculiar property of man, as the quality of being bound, not only by a kindness received, but by even the intimation of good-will towards one; and I think nothing so inconsistent with one's idea of a man—nothing so barbarous or so brutal—as to appear, I will not say unworthy of, but surpassed by kindness.

[82] And as this is the case, I will succumb, O Laterensis, to your accusation; and in that very particular in which there cannot by any possibility be any excess,—namely, in gratitude, I will confess that I have gone to excess, since you insist upon it that it is so. And I will entreat you, O judges, to bind that man to you by a kindness, in whom the only fault that those who blame him find with him is that they accuse him of being immoderately grateful. And that ought not to prevail with you so as to make you think lightly of my gratitude, when he said that you were neither guilty men nor litigious men, so that there was the less reason for your allowing me any great influence over you: as if in my intercourse with my friends I did not always prefer that these abilities of mine (if indeed I have any abilities) should be at the service of my friends, rather than they should become necessary to them. In truth, I do venture to say this of myself, that my friendship has been a pleasure to more men than those to whom it has been a protection; and I should greatly repent of my past life; if there was no room in my friendship for any one who was not either a litigious person or a guilty one.

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