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When I sent you the letter which was delivered to you at Canusium, I had no idea that you were about to cross the sea in the service of the Republic, and I was in great hopes that we might eventually be able, while in Italy, to effect an arrangement—the most advantageous thing of all in my opinion—or to defend the Republic without the least loss of dignity. Meanwhile, before my letter could have reached you, being informed of your design from your message sent through Decimus Laelius to the consuls, I did not wait for a letter from you to reach me, but with all promptitude began my journey to join you in Apulia with my brother Quintus and our sons. When I had reached Teanum Sidicinum your intimate friend Gaius Messius, and several others besides, told me that Caesar was on his march to Capua, and was going to halt that very day at Aesernia. I was much disturbed, because, if that were so, I thought not only that my journey was barred, but that I myself was fairly caught. So I went no farther than Cales at that time, intending to wait there, rather than elsewhere, till something certain was reported to me from Aesernia in regard to this information. But at Cales a copy of your letter to Lentulus, the consul, was brought to me. The substance of this was that you had received a despatch from L. Domitius on the 17th of February, a copy of which you appended, and added that it was of the utmost importance to the state, that all forces should concentrate in one place as early as possible, and that he should leave a sufficient garrison at Capua. When I read this letter I thought, and everybody else agreed with me, that you were about to proceed in full force to Corfinium, to which place, since Caesar was encamped against it, I did not think that there was a safe road for me. Whilst waiting in the greatest suspense for farther news, I heard two items of intelligence at the same time—what had happened at Corfinium, and that you had commenced your march to Brundisium: and though neither I nor my brother had any hesitation as to hurrying on to Brundisium, we were warned by many coming from Samnium and Apulia to be on our guard against being intercepted by Caesar, since, having started for the same district as that to which we were going, he was likely to arrive at his destination even quicker than we could. That being the case, neither I nor my brother, nor any of our friends, thought it right by rashness on our part to run the risk of injuring not only ourselves, but the state also; especially as we felt sure that, even if the road proved safe to ourselves, we could not, after all, possibly catch you up so late as this. Meanwhile I received a letter from you dated Canusium, 20th of February, in which you urged me to make still more haste to Brundisium. As I received this on the 27th, I felt sure that you had already arrived at Brundisium, and I saw that the road there was entirely closed to us, and that we were as completely prisoners as those at Corfinium. For I do not count as prisoners those only who have fallen into the hands of armed men, but those also quite as much who, being barred from certain districts, find themselves between garrisons and within the lines of another.

That being so, my first and greatest desire would have been never to have been separated from you, and, indeed, I shewed you my wish when I resigned the charge of Capua: which I did not do to escape a burden, but because I saw that that city could not be held without troops, and I did not wish to meet with the mischance which I grieve to see has befallen some very gallant gentlemen. Since, however, I had not the good fortune to be with you, would that I had been kept informed of your design! For I could not possibly guess it, being always accustomed to think that the last thing in the world to happen would be that this cause of the Republic should fail in Italy, while we had you as our leader. Not, however, that I am now finding any fault with your policy, but I lament the fortune of the Republic; and yet, if I fail to see your object, I do not on that account feel less certain that you have done nothing without the most careful calculation. I think you remember what my opinion has ever been, in the first place, as to maintaining peace at any price, however unfair; in the second, as to the city-for as to Italy, you had never given me any indication of your purpose.

But I do not claim for myself that my policy ought to have prevailed: I followed yours, and that not only for the sake of the Republic—of which I despaired, and which has already been overthrown, and cannot be restored without a most mischievous civil war—but I wanted you: it was with you that I wished to be; nor will I omit any opportunity of securing that, if any such occurs. I was quite aware that in the whole controversy I was failing to satisfy men who had set their hearts on war. For, in the first place, I openly avowed that I preferred peace to everything, not because I was not afraid of the same things as they were, but because I regarded them as less formidable than civil war. In the second place, after the war had begun, when I saw that conditions of peace were being offered you, and a conciliatory and liberal answer was being returned by you to those proposals, I took my special case into consideration, a consideration which I thought in view of your kindness to me I should have no difficulty in justifying in your eyes. For I remembered that I was the one man who, in return for the most eminent services to the state, had suffered the most afflicting and cruel punishment; the one man who, if I offended him—to whom, in spite of our being actually in arms, a second consulship and a most splendid triumph was being offered-would be exposed to the same contests as before: for my person seems ever to present a favourite mark for the attacks of disloyal citizens. Nor were my suspicions premature: threats of this sort have been openly made to me: and I was not so much afraid of them, if I had to face them, as convinced that I ought to avoid them, if that could be done with honour.

You have now a resumé, as brief as possible, of my policy during the time that there was any hope of peace: for the time following events made me powerless. But I have an easy answer to those who find fault with me. I have never been more devoted to Caesar than they, nor they more devoted to the Republic than I. The difference between them and me is this: while they are loyal citizens, and I deserve the same honourable title, I wished the controversy settled by diplomacy (as I know you did too), they wished it settled by arms. But since the latter method has won the day, I will take care that the Republic shall not miss in me the spirit of a citizen, nor you that of a friend.

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