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20. [45]

That one thing remained for me which, perhaps, some men of bold, and energetic, and magnanimous mind will say,—“You should have struggled, you should have resisted, you should have fought to the death.” With respect to which idea, I call you to witness, you my country, and you, O household gods, and gods of my country, that it was for the sake of your abodes and temples, that it was on account of the safety of my own fellow-citizens, which has always been dearer to me than my own life, that I avoided combat and bloodshed. In truth, O judges, if it had happened to me when I was sailing in some ship with my friends, that many pirates coming from many parts threatened to overwhelm that vessel with their fleets, unless they surrendered me alone to them; if the crew had refused to do so, and had preferred rather to perish with me than to surrender me to the enemy, I should have thrown myself into the sea in order to save the rest, rather than bring those who were so devoted to me, if not to certain death, at all events into great danger of their lives.

[46] But when, after the helm had been wrested from the senate, so many armed fleets appeared ready to attack the vessel of the republic, tossed about on the deep by the tempests of sedition and discord, unless I alone were surrendered; when proscription, and plunder, and massacre were threatened; when some stood aloof from defending me from suspicion that their doing so might bring themselves into danger, and some were prompted by their long-standing hatred of all good men, and some envied me, and some thought that I was in their way, and some wished to revenge some grief or other which they had suffered, and some were influenced by hatred of the republic itself, and of the present state and tranquillity of good men, and on account of all these numerous and various causes were demanding me alone to be given up to them,—was I to fight against them to the extreme, I will not say destruction, but danger at all events, of you and your children, rather than by myself encounter and endure on behalf of all that evil which was impending over all?

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