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66. [138]

Those who defend these institutions with all their might are the best men, of whatever rank they are; and they who chiefly support all these offices and the republic on their necks as it were, are accounted the chiefs of the party of the best men,—the chief advisers and preservers of the state. I confess that there are, as I have said before, many adversaries and enemies to, and enviers of, this class of men, that there are many dangers in their path, that many injuries are heaped upon them, that many labours have necessarily to be experienced and undergone by them. But all my speech is addressed to virtue, and not to sloth; to dignity, and not to luxury; to those men who look upon themselves as born for their country, for their fellow-citizens, for praise, for glory, not for sleep, for banquets, and soft delights. For if there be any men who are influenced wholly by pleasures, and who have given themselves entirely up to the seductions of vices and to the gratification of their desires, let them abandon all desire for honours; let them abstain from meddling with the republic; let them be satisfied with enjoying their ease, and owing it to the labour of virtuous and brave men.

[139] But they who desire the good report of good men, which is the only thing which is really entitled to be called glory, ought to seek ease and pleasures for others and not for themselves. They must toil for the common advantage; they must incur enmities, and often encounter tempests, for the sake of the republic; they must combat with many audacious and wicked men,—sometimes even with men of great influence. This is what we have heard of the sentiments and actions of the most illustrious men; this is what tradition reports of them, and what we have read nor do we ever see those men loaded with praise who from time to time have stirred up the minds of men to sedition or who by bribery have corrupted the rich nations of the ignorant or who have brought brave and illustrious men, who have deserved well of the republic into odium and unpopularity. Our countrymen have always thought such men as those contemptible and audacious and wicked and mischievous citizens. But they who have checked the violence and the attempts of those men, they who by their authority, by their integrity, by their firmness and by their magnanimity have resisted the designs of audacious men, have been at all times considered wise and good men, the chiefs, and leaders and advisers of this order of this dignified body, and of the empire.

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