Cicero, post Reditum in Senatu (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Red. Sen.].
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If, O conscript fathers, I return you thanks in a very inadequate manner for your kindness to me, and to my brother, and to my children, (which shall never be forgotten by us,) I beg and entreat you not to attribute it so much to any coldness of my disposition, as to the magnitude of the service which you have done me. For what fertility of genius, what copiousness of eloquence can be so great, what language can be found of such divine and extraordinary power, as to enable any one, I will not say to do due honour to the universal kindness of you all towards us, but even to count up and enumerate all the separate acts of kindness which we have received from you? You have restored to me my brother; whom I have wished for above all things; you have restored me to my most affectionate brother; you have restored us parents to our children, and our children to us; you have restored to us our dignity, our rank, our fortunes, the republic, which we reverence above all things, and our country, than which nothing can be dearer to us; you have restored us, in short, to ourselves.

2 And if we ought to consider our parents most dear to us, because by them our life, our property, our freedom, and our rights as citizens have been given to us; if we love the immortal gods, by whose kindness we have preserved all those things, and have also had other benefits added to them; if we are most deeply attached to the Roman people owing to the honours paid to us by whom we have been placed in this most noble council, and in the very highest rank and dignity and in this citadel of the whole earth, if we are devoted to this order of the senate by which we have been frequently distinguished by most honourable decrees in our favour, surely it is a boundless and infinite obligation which we are under to you, who, by your singular zeal and unanimity an my behalf, have combined at one time the benefits done us by our parents, the bounty of the immortal gods, the honours conferred on us by the Roman people, and your own frequent decisions in my case; in such a manner that, owing, as we do, much to you, and great gratitude to the Roman people, and innumerable thanks to our parents, and everything to the immortal gods, the honours and enjoyments which we had separately before by their instrumentality, we have now recovered all together by your kindness.

ch. 2


Therefore, O conscript fathers, we seem by your agency to have obtained a species of immortality, a thing too great to be even wished for by men. For what time will there ever be in which the memory and fame of your kindnesses to me will perish? The memory of your kindness, who, at the very time that you were besieged by violence and arms and terror and threats, not long after my departure all agreed in recalling me, at the motion of Lucius Ninnius, a most fearless and virtuous man, the most faithful and (if it had come to a battle) the least timid defender of my safety that that fatal year could produce. After the honour of making a formal decree to that effect was refused to you by the means of that tribune of the people, who as he was unable of himself to injure the republic, destroyed it as far as he could by the wickedness of another, you never kept silence concerning me, you never ceased to demand my safety from those consuls who had sold it.

4 Therefore, at last it was owing to your

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authority and your zeal that that very year which I had preferred to have fatal to myself rather than to my country, elected these men as tribunes, who proposed a law concerning my safety, and constantly brought it under your notice. For the consuls being modest men, and having a regard for the laws, were hindered by a law, not by the one which had been passed concerning me, but by one respecting themselves, when my enemy had carried a clause, that when those men had come to life again who nearly destroyed the state, then I might return to the city. By which action he confessed two things—both that he longed for them to be living, and also that the republic would be in great peril, if either the enemies and murderers of the republic came to life again, or if I did not return.

Therefore, in that very year when I had departed, and when the chief man of the state was forced to defend his own life, not by the protection of the laws, but by that of his own walls,—when the republic was without consuls, and bereft, like an orphan, not only of its regular parents, but even of its annual guardians,—when you were forbidden to deliver your opinions,—when the chief clause of my proscription was repeatedly read,—still you never hesitated to consider my safety as united with the general welfare.

ch. 3


But when, by the singular and admirable virtue of Publius Lentulus the consul, you began on the first of January to see light arising in the republic out of the clouds and darkness of the preceding year,—when the great reputation of Quintus Metellus, that most noble and excellent man, and the virtue and loyalty of the praetors, and of nearly all the tribunes of the people, had likewise come to the aid of the republic,—when Cnaeus Pompeius, the greatest man for virtue, and glory, and achievements that any nation or any age has ever produced, the most illustrious man that memory can suggest thought that he could again come with safety into the senate,—then your unanimity with respect to my safety was so great that my body only was absent, my dignity had already returned to this country.

6 And that month you were able to form an opinion as to what was the difference between me and my enemies. I abandoned my own safety, in order to save the republic from being (for my sake) stained with the blood of the citizens; they thought fit to hinder my return, not by the votes of the Roman people, but by a river of blood. Therefore, after those events, you gave no answers to the citizens, or the allies, or to kings; the judges gave no decisions; the people came to no vote on any matter; this body issued no declarations by its authority; you saw the forum silent the senate-house mute, the city dumb and dispirited.

Cicero, post Reditum in Senatu (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Red. Sen.].
<<Cic. Red. Sen. 1 Cic. Red. Sen. 1 (Latin) >>Cic. Red. Sen. 9

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