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The young men, whom, as I said before, he had enticed to join him, he initiated, by various methods, in evil practices. From among them he furnished false witnesses,1 and forgers of signatures; and he taught them all to regard, with equal unconcern, honor, property, and danger. At length, when he had stripped them of all character and shame, he led them to other and greater enormities. If a motive for crime did not readily occur, he incited them, nevertheless, to circumvent and murder inoffensive persons,2 just as if they had injured him; for, lest their hand or heart should grow torpid for want of employment, he chose to be gratuitously wicked and cruel.

Depending on such accomplices and adherents, and knowing that the load of debt was every where great, and that the veterans of Sylla,3 having spent their money too liberally, and remembering their spoils and former victory, were longing for a civil war, Catiline formed the design of overthrowing the government. There was no army in Italy; Pompey was fighting in a distant part of the world;4 he himself had great hopes of obtaining the consulship; the senate was wholly off its guard ;5 every thing was quiet and tranquil; and all these circumstances were exceedingly favorable for Catiline.

1 XVI. He furnished false witnesses, etc.] “Testis signatoresque falsos commodare.” "If any one wanted any such character, Catiline was ready to supply him from among his troop." Bernouf.

2 Inoffensive persons, etc.] “Insontes, sicuti sontes.” Most translators have rendered these words " innocent" and " guilty," terms which suggest nothing satisfactory to the English reader. The insontes are those who had given Catiline no cause of offense; the sontes those who had in some way incurred his displeasure, or become objects of his rapacity.

3 Veterans of Sylla, etc.] Elsewhere called the colonists of Sylla; men to whom Sylla had given large tracts of land as rewards for their services, but who, having lived extravagantly, had fallen into such debt and distress, that, as Cicero said, nothing could relieve them but the resurrection of Sylla from the dead. Cic. ii. Orat. in Cat.

4 Pompey was fighting in a distant part of the world] “In extremis terris.” Pompey was then conducting the war against Mithridates and Tigranes, in Pontus and Armenia.

5 The senate was wholly off its guard] “Senatus nihil sane intentus.” The senate was regardless, and unsuspicious of any danger.

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