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Nor was this disaffected spirit confined to those who were actually concerned in the conspiracy; for the whole of the common people, from a desire of change, favored the projects of Catiline. This they seemed to do in accordance with their general character; for, in every state, they that are poor envy those of a better class, and endeavor to exalt the factious ;1 they dislike the established condition of things, and long for something new; they are discontented with their own circumstances, and desire a general alteration; they can support themselves amid tumult and sedition, without anxiety, since poverty does not easily suffer loss.2

As for the populace of the city, they had become disaffected3 from various causes. In the first place,4 such as every where took the lead in crime and profligacy, with others who had squandered their fortunes in dissipation, and, in a word, all whom vice and villainy had driven from their homes, had flocked to Rome as a general receptacle of impurity. In the next place, many, who thought of the success of Sylla, when they had seen some raised from common soldiers into senators, and others so enriched as to live in regal luxury and pomp, hoped, each for himself, similar results from victory, if they should once take up arms. In addition to this, the youth, who, in the country, had earned a scanty livelihood by manual labor, tempted by public and private largesses, had preferred idleness in the city to unwelcome toil in the field. To these, and all others of similar character, public disorders would furnish subsistence. It is not at all surprising, therefore, that men in distress, of dissolute principles and extravagant expectations, should have consulted the interest of the state no further than as it was subservient to their own. Besides, those whose parents, by the victory of Sylla, had been proscribed, whose property had been confiscated, and whose civil rights had been curtailed,5 looked forward to the event of a war with precisely the same feelings.

All those, too, who were of any party opposed to that of the senate, were desirous rather that the state should be embroiled, than that they themselves should be out of power. This was an evil, which, after many years, had returned upon the community to the extent to which it now prevailed.6

1 XXXVII. Endeavor to exalt the factious] “Malos extollunt.” They strive to elevate into office those who resemble themselves.

2 Poverty does not easily suffer loss] “Egestas facilè habetur sine damno” He that has nothing, has nothing to lose. Petron. Sat., c. 119: Inops audacia tuta est.

3 Had become disaffected] “Præceps abierat.” Had grown demoralized, sunk in corruption, and ready to join in any plots against the state. So Sallust says of Sempronia, præceps abierat, c. 25.

4 In the first place] “Primum omnium.” "These words refer, not to item and postremo in the same sentence, but to deinde at the commencement of the next." Bernouf.

5 Civil rights had been curtailed] “Jus libertatis imminutum erat.” " Sylla, by one of his laws, had rendered the children of proscribed persons incapable of holding any public office; a law unjust, indeed, but which, having been established and acted upon for more than twenty years, could not be rescinded without inconvenience to the government. Cicero, accordingly, opposed the attempts which were made, in his consulship, to remove this restriction, as he himself states in his Oration against Piso, c. 2." Bernouf. See Vell. Paterc., ii., 28; Plutarch, Vit. Syll.; Quintil., xi. 1, where a fragment of Cicero's speech, De Proscriptorum Liberis, is preserved. This law of Sylla was at length abrogated by Julius Cæsar, Suet. J. Cæs. 41; Plutarch Vit. Cæs.; Dio Cass., xli. 18.

6 This was an evil--to the extent to which it now prevailed] “Id adeò malum multos post annos in civitatem reverterat."Adeo," says Cortius, "is particular elegantissima." Allen makes it equivalent to usque.

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