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How seriously my personal safety and that of all loyalists is imperilled, as well as that of the whole senate and Republic, you may judge from the fact that we have abandoned our town houses, and the very city itself, to plunder and conflagration. Matters have come to such a pitch that, unless some god or some accident intervenes, we cannot possibly be saved. For my part, ever since I arrived at the city, I have never ceased promoting in thought, word, and deed everything that made for peace: but a strange mad passion for fighting has inflamed not only the disloyal, but even those who are reckoned loyalists, though I loudly proclaim that nothing can be more lamentable than a civil war. Accordingly, when Caesar yielded to the promptings of what may be called downright insanity, and— forgetting his name and his honours—had successively occupied Ariminum, Pisaurum, Ancona, and Arretium, I left the city. On the wisdom or courage of such a step it is useless to argue. You see how we stand now. The upshot is, proposals are received from Caesar that Pompey should go to Spain: that the levies already completed and our garrisons should be disbanded: that he will hand over farther Gaul to Domitius, hither Gaul to Considius Nonianus (these are the men to whom these provinces have been allotted): that he will come to canvass for the consulship, and no longer demand that his candidature be admitted in his absence: that he will be in town as candidate for the legal three nundinae. 1 We accept the proposals, but on the condition that he withdraws his garrisons from the places he has occupied, so that a meeting of the senate may be held at Rome to discuss these same proposals in security. If he does this, there is hope of a peace—not a creditable one, for we accept terms from him, but anything is better than to be as we are. If; on the other hand, he declines to abide by his terms, everything is ready for war, but of a kind that he cannot possibly maintain-especially as he will have shirked terms proposed by himself—provided only that we cut him off from all power of approaching the city. This we hope can be done: for we are holding levies on a large scale, and we think that he is afraid, if he once begins a march upon the city, that he may lose the Gauls, both of which, with the exception of the Transpadani, are bitterly hostile to him: and on the side of Spain he has six legions and a large force of auxiliaries under Afranius and Petreius 2 on his rear. If he persists in his madness it seems possible that he may be crushed—if it can only be done without losing Rome! He has, again, received a very severe blow in the fact that Titus Labienus, who occupied the most influential position in his army, has declined to be a partner in his crime. He has abandoned him and is with us, and many are said to intend doing the same. I as yet am president of the sea-coast from Formiae. I refused any more important function, that my letters and exhortations to peace might have greater influence with Caesar. If; however, war does break out, I see that I shall have to take command of a camp and a definite number of legions. I have another trouble in the fact that my son-in-law Dolabella is with Caesar.

I wished you to know these facts, but don't let them agitate you and retard your recovery. I have recommended you with great earnestness to Aulus Varro, whom I know to be warmly attached to me and very fond of you, asking him to interest himself in your health and your voyage, and generally to take you under his charge and look after you. I feel certain he will do all this, for he promised to do so, and spoke to me in the kindest manner. Pray, since you were unable to be with me at the time I most wanted your help and fidelity, do not hurry or allow yourself to embark upon a voyage while ill, or in bad weather. I shall never think you come late if you come well and strong. As yet I have seen no one who had seen you since M. Volusius, who handed me your letter. I don't wonder at this, for I don't think my letters either can reach you in such stormy weather. But do your best to recover, and, when you do recover, only sail when you can do so with safety. My son is at Formiae, Terentia and Tullia at Rome. Take care of yourself.

Capua, 27 January.

1 That is, seventeen clear days.

2 Two of the three legates of Pompey in Spain.

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