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38.

For if any one thinks that my independence has suffered any diminution, because I do not now differ in opinion with all those same men with whom I was formerly accustomed to differ; in the first place, if I show myself grateful to those who have deserved well of me, I do not cease to be attacked with the accusation of being a man of too good a memory, and too grateful. But if, without any injury to the republic, I sometimes show a regard to my own safety and that of my family, at all events I not only do not deserve to be blamed for this, but, even if I were to wish myself to run on ruin, there are good men who would entreat me not to do so.

[92] But the republic itself, if it were able to speak, would plead with me, that as I had always served her interests, and never my own, and as I had received a reward from her not such as I ought, rich and abundant, but mingled with exceeding bitterness, now at length to serve myself, and to consult the interests of my family; and would urge not only that she herself had received enough from me, but that she even feared that she had made me but an inadequate return for all the services which I had rendered her.

[93] But what will you say if I think nothing of all these things, and if I persevere in the same course in the republic which I have always pursued? will you still ask what is become of my independence? which you make to consist in the fact of our struggling for ever with any one with whom we have at any time had a contest. But this is all nonsense; for we ought at all times to act as if we were standing in some revolving orb of the republic, and as that turns round we ought to choose that part to which the advantage and safety of the republic direct us.


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