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DCCCLIII (BRUT. I, 4, §§ 1-3)

MY joy at hearing of the success of our friend Decimus Brutus and the Consuls it is easier for you to imagine than for me to write. 1 I have nothing but praise and pleasure for everything that has occurred, but especially for the fact that the sortie of Brutus not only proved his own salvation, but also a very great assistance to the victory. 2

You remark that all the three Antonies stand on one and the same ground, and that it rests with me to decide what view I take. Well, my only conclusion is that the decision in regard to those citizens who have fought and not been killed rests with the senate or the Roman people. "Ah, but," you will say, "you are wrong to begin with in calling men citizens whose feelings to the state are those of enemies." On the contrary, I am acting with the strictest justice. For that which the senate has not yet voted, nor the Roman people ordained—that I do not take upon myself to prejudge, nor do I claim to decide it on my own authority. From this position I do not budge-from the man, whom circumstances did not compel me to put to death, I have not wrested anything in a spirit of cruelty, nor have I given him any indulgence from mere weakness; but I have retained him in my power until the end of the war. I consider it much the more honourable course, and one which the Republic can with more safety concede, not to press heavily on the unfortunate, rather than to indulge men of influence in what is calculated to inflame their ambition and arrogance. 3 In this matter, Cicero, you—who have done the most splendid and gallant services, and are most deeply beloved by all on private and public grounds alike-seem to me too ready to believe what you hope; and the moment anyone has done anything well, to be ready to give and concede everything to him. As though it were not quite possible that a mind should be corrupted by bribery and perverted to evil. You are so good-natured that you won't be angry at receiving this hint, especially as it concerns the common safety. You will act, however, as it may seem best to you. Even I, when you have admonished me... 4

1 Brutus could not have known of the death of the consuls, which indeed was not known at first even at Rome. Galba's letter (pp.211-213) says nothing even of Pansa's wound, and as Brutus refers below to the last words of Letter DCCCXLI (p.219), he could not have as yet received DCCCXLIII.

2 According to Dio (46, 40), Decimus Brutus and his besieged garrison made no sortie during the battle, nor took any part in it. But there is nothing surprising in M. Brutus having heard that he did. The inaccuracy of the reports during the war has again and again been apparent.

3 Brutus seems to be referring to those members of the party who were in favour of severities to the opposition, partly from desire for vengeance, and partly with an eye to confiscations and other personal advantages. We heard much of this in the early times of the civil war. See vol. ii., pp.294, 310, etc.

4 The end of the letter is lost.

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