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[2] My long friendship with Gaius Rabirius, the honor of the man, considerations of civilized behavior, and the unbroken custom of my life have urged me to defend him, but, in truth, the survival of the Republic, my duty as consul, and, finally, the consulship itself which, along with the welfare of the Republic, you have entrusted to me have compelled me to do so with my every effort.

Criminal negligence, Roman citizens, has not summoned Rabirius into a crisis of his life and citizenship, neither has jealousy inspired by his life nor any lasting, just, and grievous enmity. Rather, that the most important support for the majesty of our empire handed down to us by our ancestors be abolished from the Republic, and that henceforth the influence of the senate, the consul's civilian authority, and the meeting of the minds of good men be utterly powerless against the pernicious plague upon the citizen body, for these aims and purposes and toward overturning these institutions, have one man's old age, frailty, and privacy come under assault.

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