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Very often, as I reflect upon the miseries in which we have all alike been living these many years past, and, as far as I can see, are likely to be living, lam wont to recall that time when we last met: nay, I remember the exact day. Having arrived at my Pompeian villa on the evening of the 12th of May, in the consulship of Lentulus and Marcellus, 1 you came to see me in a state of anxiety. What was making you uneasy was your reflexion both on my duty and my danger. If I remained in Italy, you feared my being wanting to my duty: if I set out to the camp, you were agitated by the thought of my danger. At that time you certainly found me so unnerved as to be unable to unravel the tangle and see what was best to be done. Nevertheless, I preferred to be ruled by honour and reputation, rather than to consider the safety of my life. Of this decision I afterwards repented, not so much on account of the danger I incurred, as because of the many fatal weaknesses which I found on arrival at my destination. In the first place, troops neither numerous nor on a proper war footing; in the second place, beyond the general and a few others—I am speaking of the men of rank—the rest, to begin with, greedy for plunder in conducting the war itself, and moreover so bloodthirsty in their talk, that I shuddered at the idea of victory itself: and, lastly, immense indebtedness on the part of the men of the highest position. In short, there was nothing good except the cause.

Despairing of victory when I saw these things, I first began advising a peace, which had always been my policy; next, finding Pompey vehemently opposed to that idea, I proceeded to advise him to protract the war. Of this he at times expressed approval, and seemed likely to adopt the suggestion; and he perhaps would have done so, had it not been that as a result of a certain engagement 2 he began to feel confidence in his soldiers. From that day forth that eminent man ceased to be anything of a general. He accepted battle against the most highly seasoned legions with an army of raw recruits and hastily collected men. Having been shamefully beaten, with the loss also of his camp, he fled alone.

This I regarded as the end of the war, as far as I was concerned, nor did I imagine that, having been found unequal to the struggle while still unbeaten, we should have the upper hand after a crushing defeat. I abandoned a war in which the alternatives were to fall on the field of battle, or to fall into some ambush, or to come into the conqueror's hands, or to take refuge with Iuba, or to select some place of residence as practically an exile, or to die by one's own hand. At least there was no other alternative, if you had neither the will nor the courage to trust yourself to the victor. Now, of all these alternatives I have mentioned, none is more en-durable than exile, especially to a man with clean hands, when no dishonour attaches to it: and I may also add, when you lose a city, in which there is nothing that you can look at without pain. For my part, I preferred to remain with my own family—if a man may nowadays call anything his own—and also on my own property. What actually happened I foretold in every particular. I came home, not because that offered the best condition of life, but that after all, if some form of a constitution remained, I might be there as though in my own country, and if not, as though in exile. For inflicting death on myself there seemed no adequate reason: many reasons why I should wish for it. For it is an old saying, "When you cease to be what once you were, there is no reason why you should wish to live." But after all it is a great consolation to be free of blame, especially as I have two things upon which to rely for support-acquaintance with the noblest kind of learning and the glory of the most brilliant achievements: of which the former will never be torn from me while I live, the latter not even after my death.

I have written these things to you somewhat fully, and have bored you with them, because I knew you to be most devoted both to myself and to the Republic. I wished you to be acquainted with my entire views, that in the first place you might know that it was never a wish of mine that any one individual should have more power than the Republic as a whole; but that, when by some one's fault a particular person did become so powerful as to make resistance to him impossible, I was for peace: that when the army was lost, as well as the leader in whom alone our hopes had been fixed, I wished to put an end to the war for the rest of the party also: and, when that proved impossible, that I did so for myself. But that now, if our state exists, I am a citizen of it; if it does not, that I am an exile in a place quite as suited for the position, as if I had betaken myself to Rhodes or Mytilene.

I should have preferred to discuss this with you personally, but as the possibility of that was somewhat remote, I determined to make the same statement by letter, that you might have something to say, if you ever fell in with any of my critics. For there are men who, though my death would have been utterly useless to the state, regard it as a crime that I am still alive, and who I am certain think that those who perished were not numerous enough. Though, if these persons had listened to me, they would now, however unfair the terms of peace, have been living in honour; for while inferior in arms they would have been superior in the merits of their cause. Here's a letter somewhat more wordy than perhaps you would have wished; and that I shall hold to be your opinion, unless you send me a still longer one in reply. If I can get through with some business which I wish to settle, I shall, I hope, see you before long.

1 B.C. 49. This apology for his conduct is somewhat like that addressed to Lentulus, vol. i., p.310.

2 When Pompey pierced Caesar's lines and defeated him. See pp. 6-7.

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