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CCCLXV (A IX, 11 a)

ON reading your letter, handed to me by our friend Furnius, in which you ask me to come to the city walls, I was not so much surprised at your wishing "to avail yourself of my advice and position," but what you meant by speaking of my "influence and assistance" I did ask myself. My thoughts, however, were so far dominated by my hope, that I was induced to think that you wished to consult for the tranquillity, peace, and harmony of our fellow citizens: and for a policy of that kind I regarded both my natural disposition and my public character as sufficiently well adapted. If this is the case, and if you are at all anxious to preserve our common friend Pompey, and to reconcile him to yourself and the Republic, you will assuredly find no one better calculated than myself for supporting such measures. For, as soon as opportunity offered, I pleaded for peace both to him and the senate; nor since the commencement of hostilities have I taken any part whatever in the war; and I have held the opinion that by that war you are being wronged, in that men who were hostile to and jealous of you were striving to prevent your enjoying an office granted you by the favour of the Roman people. 1 But as at that period I was not only personally a supporter of your rights, but also advised everybody else to assist you, so at the present moment I am strongly moved by consideration for the position of Pompey. It is now a good number of years ago since I picked out you two as the special objects of my political devotion, and—as you still are of my warm personal affection. Wherefore I ask you, or rather entreat you, and appeal to you with every form of prayer, that in the midst of your very great preoccupations you would yet spare some part of your time to reflect how by your kindness I may be enabled to do what goodness and gratitude, and, in point of fact, natural affection demand, by remembering the extreme obligation under which I stand. If these considerations only affected myself, I should yet have hoped to secure your assent; but, in my opinion, it concerns both your own honour and the public interest that I-a friend to peace and to you both-should, as far as you are concerned, be maintained in a position best calculated to promote harmony between you and among our fellow citizens.

Though I have thanked you before in regard to Lentulus, 2 for saving the man who saved me, yet after reading a letter from him, in which he speaks with the utmost gratitude of your generous treatment and kindness to him, I felt that the safety you gave him was given to me also: and if you perceive my gratitude in his case, pray take means to allow me to shew the same in the case of Pompey.

1 Cicero is using language which he had reason to know was such as Caesar had himself used to L. Caesar at Ariminumdoluisse se, quod P. R. beneficium per contumeliam ab inimicis extorqueretur (Caes. B. C. 1.9). It is rather a pitiflil attempt to "sit on the hedge," considering what his real sentiments were.

2 P. Cornelius Lentulus Spinther, consul B.C. 57, to whom we have had many letters addressed while he was in Cilicia. He had fallen into the hands of Caesar at Corfinium, and had been dismissed unharmed.

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