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34. [73]

Then Lucius Cotta, being asked his opinion first, said what was most worthy of the republic,—that nothing had been done respecting me justly, nothing according to the usages of our ancestors, nothing according to the laws that no one could be removed out of the city without a regular trial, that it not only was illegal for any law to be passed, but that no decision even could be come to except at the comitia centuriata, that that was all violence, a flame arising from the confusion of the republic, and the agitated state of the times, when all rights and all courts of justice were destroyed, that when a great revolution was impending, I turned aside a little, and out of hope of future tranquillity, had shunned the present waves and tempests. Wherefore, as I had when absent delivered the republic from no less serious dangers than I had previously when present, he said that it was fitting that I should not only be restored, but also complimented by the senate. He also discussed many other points with great wisdom, arguing that that most insane and profligate enemy of modesty and chastity had framed the law which he had enacted concerning me in such a manner, in such language and with such statements of fact that even if it had been legally proposed and earned still it could not have had any force. Wherefore he said, that as I was not away because of any law, I ought to be recalled not by a law but by the authority of the senate.

[74] There was no one who did not say that this opinion was most sound. But Cnaeus Pompeius, who was asked his opinion after him, having expressed his approval of the opinion of Cotta, and praised it, said that he, for the sake of my tranquillity, in order that I might be in no subsequent danger from any popular disturbance, voted that the kindness of the Roman people should be added to the authority of the senate in my behalf. When all had vied with one another, each one speaking about my safety in a more dignified and complimentary manner than the other, and when in fact a unanimous vote was just taking place, up rose, as you know, Atilius Gavianus; and he did not dare to interpose his veto, although he had been bought for that purpose, but he asked a night to deliberate on the matter. Then ensued a great outcry of the senate, and loud complaints and entreaties: his father-in-law threw himself at his feet. He pledged himself to cause no delay the next day. He was believed. The senate broke up. In the meantime that deliberate gentleman, in the course of the long night that intervened, got his wages doubled. Only a very few days followed during the whole month of January on which it was lawful for a senate to be held; but still nothing was discussed except my business.

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