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The state of business here I dare not tell even in a letter. And though, wherever you are, as I have told you before, you are in the same boat, yet I congratulate you on your absence, as well because you don't see what we see, as because your reputation is placed on a lofty and conspicuous pinnacle in the sight of multitudes both of citizens and allies; and it is conveyed to us by neither obscure nor uncertain talk, but by the loud and unanimous voice of all. There is one thing of which I cannot feel certain—whether to congratulate you, or to be alarmed for you on account of the surprising expectation entertained of your return; not because I am at all afraid of your not satisfying the world's opinion, but, by heaven, lest, when you do come, there may be nothing for you to preserve: so universal is the decline and almost extinction of all our institutions. But even thus much I am afraid I have been rash to trust to a letter wherefore you shall learn the rest from others. 1 However, whether you have still some hope of the Republic, or have given it up in despair, see that you have ready, rehearsed and thought out in your mind, all that the citizen and the man should have at his command who is destined to restore to its ancient dignity and freedom a state crushed and overwhelmed by evil times and profligate morals.

1 In these vague though ominous sentences Cicero is referring to the constant and violent hindrances to the election of magistrates, that is, to the orderly working of the constitution, which were occurring. No consuls were elected till September.

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