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GALLIA COMATA (23 MARCH) PLANCUS, imperator, consul-designate, greets the Consuls, praetors, tribunes of the plebs, the senate, the people and commons of Rome.

In case anyone thinks that I have kept public expectation and the hopes of the state as to my disposition too long in suspense, I think I must offer an explanation to such a man before proceeding to promise anything to anybody as to my future services. For I do not wish to have the appearance of having made up for a previous error, but to be delivering in the fullness of time the long-cherished sentiments of a loyal heart. It did not escape me that at a time of such profound public anxiety and such great political confusion the profession of loyal sentiments is a most profitable thing to make, and I saw that a considerable number of people had secured high honours by that means. But since fortune had brought me to such a pass as to force me to choose between making premature promises, and thereby of my own act raising up formidable obstacles to the accomplishment of any useful service, or putting a restraint upon myself in that respect, and thereby having better opportunities of rendering aid, I chose a course better calculated to secure the public safety than my own reputation. For who is there that in the high position I at present enjoy, and after a life such as I think the world knows mine to have been, and with the prospects which I actually possess, could submit to anything degrading or set his heart upon anything likely to be mischievous? But I required a considerable time, heavy labours, and great expense in order finally to make good my promises to the Republic and all loyal citizens, and in order not to approach the task of aiding my country with no equipment except good intentions, but with the requisite resources. I had to secure the loyalty of my army, which had been often tampered with by the offer of great bounties, and to persuade it to look to the state for moderate rewards, rather than to a single person for unlimited ones. The loyalty also of numerous tribes had to be secured, which in the previous year 1 had been laid under obligations by bounties and grants of compensations; and they had to be convinced that such rewards were shadowy, and that they must try to obtain the same privileges from more constitutional sources. I had also to sound the intentions of the other commanders of neighbouring provinces and armies, and induce them to join me in championing freedom in conjunction with the majority,' rather than that we should share with the minority a victory disastrous to the world at large. Moreover, I had to take precautions for my own safety by increasing my army and multiplying the number of my auxiliaries, in order that, while making no secret of my sentiments, I might yet incur no danger by its being publicly known, even though some objected, which side I meant to embrace. Accordingly, I shall never deny that, in order to arrive at the accomplishment of these designs, I have, contrary to my inclinations, pretended to feelings that I did not entertain, and with pain dissembled those that I did. For I saw from what had befallen my colleague the danger of a premature revelation of intentions by a loyal but unprepared citizen.

On this account I have given my legate Gaius Furnius—a gallant and energetic officer-still fuller instructions by word of mouth than are contained in this despatch, to the end that they might reach you with greater secrecy, and I might remain in greater security. And I have instructed him as to what is required for strengthening the public safety and properly equipping myself. And from this it may be understood that the care of the defence of our country's highest interests has not for long past been suffered to sleep in my breast. By the blessing of heaven we are now in a better state of preparation in every particular, and we wish all the world not merely to have good hopes, but to feel certain, of us. I have five legions under colours, united by their own loyalty and excellence to the Republic with the most absolute fidelity, and at 'the same time devoted to me in response to my liberal treatment of them. I have a province in the best possible state from the unanimous consent of all its tribes, and inspired by the keenest emulation in its display of loyalty. My cavalry and auxiliary, forces are as numerous as the tribes in this country can raise in defence of their own safety and liberty. For myself I am fully prepared either to defend my province, or to go wheresoever the Republic calls me, or to hand over army, auxiliaries, and province. Or I would not even decline to bear the whole brunt of the war in my own person, provided that by my own disaster I might secure the safety of my country or delay its danger. I am making these promises when all difficulties have been already solved, and the political crisis is over, I shall rejoice in the benefit to my country, though I thereby lose my chance of earning reputation. But if I am to find myself involved in a share of dangers still at their most unabated height, I commend the defence of my policy to, impartial judges against the detraction of the envious. As for the reward of my own services, that is sufficiently secured in the safety of the state. Yet I think I ought to ask you to regard as commended to your consideration those who have followed my lead, and still more their duty to you, and have been proof against the deception of any promises or the terror of any threats.

1 Plancus had been preceded in the governorship of Gallia Comata by Hirtius, who, however, had not gone there in person, but had governed by a legatus (see p. 16). Immediately after the death of Caesar, Antony had apparently taken means to secure the fidelity of the Gauls to himself.

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