DCCLXXXVI (F X, 3)
TO L. MUNATIUS PLANCUS (IN GALLIA COMATA)I was very glad to see Furnius for his own sake, but all the more glad because in listening to him I seemed to be listening to you. He vividly described your valour in war, the justice of your administration in the province, and the wisdom you displayed in every department. He mentioned besides—what our association and intimacy had not left me ignorant of—the courtesy of your manners, as well also as your very liberal conduct to himself. All these were very pleasant hearing to me: the last roused my gratitude also. I have had, my dear Plancus, a close bond of friendship with your family, formed a considerable time before you were born, a personal affection for you from your boyhood, and, when you grew up, an intimacy begun from inclination on my part and from deliberate judgment on yours. For these reasons I take extraordinary pains to support your political position, which I am convinced ought to be associated with my own. You have attained to the highest distinctions in every department, virtue shewing the way, and fortune marching by your side. And these you have won though you had many detractors, whom you have baffled by your talents and industry. At present, if you will listen to me—who love you dearly and yield to no one in his claim to be a closer and older friend -you will look for every advancement in the rest of your life from the best possible settlement of the constitution. You know of course—for it could not possibly have escaped you—that there has been a period during which people thought you too much inclined to yield to the circumstances of the time. I should have thought so, too, had I thought that you approved of the things to which you submitted. But as I well knew your real sentiments, I considered that it was only that you saw the limits of your power. Now the case is different. The decision on all points is in your own hands and is unfettered. You are consul-designate: at the prime of life: a first-rate orator. And all this when the state is unusually destitute of men of this sort. In the name of Heaven, throw yourself heart and soul into the measures calculated to bring you reputation and glory. The one path to glory, especially at a time like this, when the Republic has been harassed to death for so many years, is that of honest administration. It was my personal affection that impelled me to write this to you, rather than any idea of your needing admonition and precept. For I know that you imbibed them from the same fountains as myself. Therefore I will put a period to these exhortations. For the present I thought I should only give a hint—rather to shew you my affection than to display my wisdom. Meanwhile I will attend with zeal and minute care to whatever I think will affect your high position.