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22. [49]

Influenced by these and many other considerations, I saw that, if my death were the destruction of the common cause of the state, no one would ever live who would venture to undertake the defence of the safety of the republic against wicked citizens. Therefore, I feared that the result would be, not only if I were put to death by violence, but even if I died from natural causes, that the example of a man labouring for the preservation of the republic would perish with me. For if, while all good men were so eager for it, I were not restored by the senate and people of Rome, (and most unquestionably that could never have happened if I had been killed first,) who would ever dare afterwards to encounter the very slightest unpopularity for the sake of having anything to do with the affairs of the republic? I, therefore, saved the republic, O judges, by my departure. At the expense of my own grief and misery I averted slaughter, and devastation, and conflagration, and plunder, from you and from your children. And I, by myself, twice saved the republic once with glory, once with misery. That I will never so far deny that I have the feelings of a man as to boast that I felt no grief when I was deprived of my most excellent brother, of my most beloved children, of my most faithful wife, of the sight of you, my fellow-citizens, of my country, and of my rank as a senator. If those had been my feelings, what obligation would you be under to me, if for your sake I had only abandoned those things which I considered of no value? This, in my opinion, ought to be considered by you a most certain token of my exceeding devotion to my country, that though I could not be absent from her without the deepest grief, yet I preferred to endure this grief, rather than to allow her to be destroyed by wicked citizens. [50]

I recollected, O judges, that that godlike man, sprung from the same district as myself, for the preservation of this empire, Caius Marius, in extreme old age, when he had escaped from violence little short of a pitched battle, first of all hid his aged body up to his neck in the marshes and from thence crossed over in a very little boat to the most desolate regions of Africa, avoiding all harbours and all inhabited countries. And he preserved his own life, that he might not fall unavenged, for the most uncertain hopes, but still for his country. Should not I, who (as many men in the senate said during my absence) had the safety of the republic bound up with my life, and who on that account was by the public order of the senate, recommended by the letters of the consuls to the protection of foreign nations,—should not I, I say, have been betraying the republic if I had neglected the preservation of my own life? In the city now since I have been restored there lives in my person an example of the public good faith, an instance of its being worth men's while to defend the republic. And if this example is preserved for ever who is there who can fail to see that this city will be immortal?

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