DCCCXCIV (F XII, 30)
TO Q. CORNIFICIUS (IN AFRICA)Is it really so? Does no one bring a letter from me to you except suitors? There are a good many of that sort certainly: for you have created the impression that no one is effectively recommended to you without a letter from me. 1 But who among all your friends ever told me of anyone to whom I could intrust a letter without my doing so? Or what greater pleasure have I than writing to you or reading a letter from you, since I am debarred from talking to you? What troubles me more than anything is that I am so overwhelmed with business as not to have the power of writing to you whenever I choose. For I should have bombarded you, not with mere letters, but with whole volumes, with which, however, I ought to have been first challenged by you to respond. For though you are busy, yet you have more leisure than I have, or, if you haven't any leisure either, don't cast modesty to the winds and vex me by demanding more frequent letters, when you only write to me yourself at long intervals. For though I was before this distracted with the most constant engagements, arising from the fact that I consider the safety of the state to require my every thought and care, yet at this present moment I am much more distracted than ever. For as an illness is more serious when after imagining themselves cured invalids suffer a relapse, so is our distress more acute when, after fighting a successful battle and almost putting an end to the contest, we are struggling with a recrudescence of the same war. But enough of this. Assure yourself, my dear Cornificius, that I am not so feeble-minded, not to say unfeeling, as to be Capable of being surpassed by you in good offices or affection. I never doubted it indeed, but Chaerippus has all the same made your affection to me much more evident. What an excellent fellow! He always suited my taste, but now I find him quite delightful. It was not merely your sentiments and words that he conveyed to me: he brought vividly before me your every look. So don't be afraid of my having been annoyed with you for treating me as you do the rest of the world. I have indeed desired a letter from you addressed exclusively to myself, but it was never unreasonably, and always in an affectionate spirit. As to the money which you say you are spending and have spent on your army, I can do absolutely nothing to aid you, because the senate is made helpless by the loss of both consuls, 2 and the treasury is in incredible straits for money, which is being called in on every side to satisfy the promises made to the soldiers who have done such excellent public service. Even this I think cannot be done without a property tax. 3 That business of Attius Dionysius 4 I think amounts to nothing, for Tratorius said nothing to me about it. As to Publius Lucceius 5 I don't in any way yield to you in zealous interest: for he is a close friend of mine. But when I asked the liquidators 6 for a postponement, they satisfied me that they were prevented from granting it both by the agreement that had been come to and by their oath. Wherefore in my opinion Lucceius must appear. However, if he has obeyed the letter I wrote to him, he ought to be at Rome by the time you read this. As to the other matters you mention, and especially as to money, you wrote in ignorance of Pansa's death about certain grants which you thought that you might get from him through me. In which you would not have been disappointed had he been alive, for he was attached to you. But after his death I fail to see what can be done. As to Venuleius, Latinus, and Horatius, I much commend you. The next thing you say, however, I don't approve—that in order to soften the matter for them you have deprived your legates also of their lictors: for in outward marks of honour they ought not to be put on a level with men who deserve to be disgraced; and I think that those three men ought in virtue of the senate's decree, if they do not quit the province, to be compelled to do so. This is what I had to say in answer to the letter which I received in duplicate. For the rest, be assured that my own political position is not dearer to me than yours.