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32. [69]

And as the facts of the case were now notorious, and as the consuls, by their bargain respecting the provinces, had parted with all their freedom of action, and when they were asked in the senate to deliver their opinions respecting me as private men,1 said that they were afraid of that law of Clodius: as those men could not stand this state of things any longer, they formed a plan to murder Cnaeus Pompeius and when that was detected and when the assassins had been taken with the arms in their hands, he remained shut up in his own house as long as my enemy continued tribune. Eight tribunes supported a motion for my return, from which it was understood that my friends had increased in my absence and that, too, while I was in a situation in which some whom I had thought to be my friends were not able to show2 it; but the fact was that they had always the same inclination but not always the same freedom of action; for of the nine tribunes who were at that time in my interest one, while I was absent, dropped off from me, who took his surname from the images of the Aelii, though he looks more as if he be longed to their nation than to their family.3

[70] Accordingly, in this year when the new magistrates had been elected, when all good men turned their hopes towards them and began to found expectations of a better state of things on their honesty, Publius Lentulus, as the chief, took up my cause with his authority and by the open declaration of his sentiments, in spite of the resistance of Piso and Gabinius; and when eight tribunes made a motion in my behalf, he spoke in favour of it in a speech very honourable to me. And though he thought that it would redound greatly to his glory, and would secure him gratitude as having performed a most important service to the state, if that cause was not as yet proceeded with, but was reserved entire for his consulship, still he preferred having my business settled at once by others, to having it accomplished after delay by himself.

1 The text here seems undoubtedly corrupt.

2 Here also the text is probably very corrupt.

3 Aelius was of Ligurian family originally, and the Ligurians were not very famous for their good faith.

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