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CMX (BRUT. I, 18)

AFTER I had often urged you by letter to come as soon as possible to the aid of the state, and to bring your army into Italy, and when I thought that your relatives had no doubt on that subject, I was asked by that most prudent and careful lady your mother—whose every thought and care are directed and devoted to you—to call on her on the 24th of July, which, as in duty bound, I at once did. On my arrival, I found Casca, Labeo, and Scaptius 1 there. Well, she opened the subject and asked me my opinion, whether we should ask you to come to Italy, and whether we thought that to your advantage, or whether it were better that you should put it off and stay where you were. I answered—as was my real opinion—that it was of the highest advantage to your position and reputation to bring help at the first possible moment to the tottering and almost prostrate Republic. For what disaster do you think is wanting in a war, in which the victorious armies refuse to pursue a flying enemy, and in which an officer with imperium in full possession of his rights, enjoying the most splendid honours and the most ample fortune, with wife and children, with you and Cassius related to him by marriage, has yet proclaimed war on the Republic? How can I use the words "in such unanimity of senate and people," when such fatal mischief abides within our very walls? But the bitterest sorrow which is affecting me as I write this is that, whereas the Republic accepted me as a surety for that youth, or, I might almost say, that boy, I seem scarcely able to make my promise good. Truly, a guarantee for another's feeling and sentiment, especially in affairs of the greatest importance, is more onerous and difficult than one for money. For money can be paid, and a loss of property is bearable. But how are you to make good what you have guaranteed to the state, unless he for whom you undertook the obligation is willing that it should be fulfilled? 2 However, I shall retain even him, I hope, in spite of many adverse influences. For he seems to have a character of his own, though he is at the pliable time of life, and there are many prepared to corrupt him, who hope that, by holding out before him the glamour of false honour, the sight of a naturally good intelligence may be blinded. Accordingly, to my other labours has been added the task of applying every engine to the keeping of a hold upon the young man, that I may not incur a reputation for rashness. However, where is the rashness? I bound the man, for whom I gave the guarantee, more tightly than I did myself; nor can the state regret my having given a guarantee for one who in the actual campaign was rendered more resolute by my promise, as well as from his own disposition. But, unless I am mistaken, the greatest difficulty in the Republic is the want of money. For the loyalists grow daily more callous to the call for property tax. All that was collected by the one per cent. income tax, owing to the shameless returns made by the wealthy, is exhausted by the bounties given to two legions: whereas endless expenses are hanging over us, both for the armies now protecting us, and for yours—for our friend Cassius seems able to come home very well provided. But of this and many other things I desire to talk to you when we meet, and that as soon as possible. About your sister's sons, 3 Brutus, I did not wait for you to write. As a matter of fact, the state of the times itself—for the war will be protracted-guarantees that the case will be left for you to decide. But from the very first, though I could not divine the long continuance of the war, I pleaded the cause of the boys in the senate, as I think you Can have learnt from your mother's letter. 4 Nor will there ever arise any circumstance in which I shall not, even at the risk of my life, say and do whatever I think is your wish and to your interest.

1 Q. Antistius Labeo—one of the assassins—caused a slave to kill him in his tent after the battle at Philippi (App. B.C. 4.135). For Casca see p.249. M. Scaptius had carried on a banking business in Cilicia, and was the agent of Brutus there. See vol. ii., pp.128, 135 sq.

2 That is, in the case of a guarantee of conduct, which necessarily depends on the persons for whom the guarantee is given being willing to conform to a certain standard of behaviour. The allusion is to Octavian.

3 The sons of Lepidus and Iunia.

4 This and the assertion in the previous letter seem directly contradictory to Letter DCCCCIV, p.314.

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