And Antonius, on hearing of this news after he had summoned the senate, and provided a man of consular rank to declare his opinion that Caius. Caesar was an enemy of his country, immediately fainted away. And afterward without either performing the usual sacrifices or offering the customary vows, he, I will not say went forth, but took to flight in his robe as a general. But which way did he flee? To the province of our most resolute and bravest citizens, men who could never have endured him if he had not come bringing war in his train, an intemperate, passionate, insolent, proud man, always making demands, always plundering, always drunk. But he, whose worthlessness even when quiet was more than any one could endure, has declared war upon the province of Gaul; he is besieging Mutina, a valiant and splendid colony of the Roman people; he is blockading Decimus Brutus, the general, the consul-elect, a citizen born not for himself, but for us and the republic. Was then Hannibal an enemy, and is Antonius a citizen? What did the one do like an enemy, that the other has not done, or is not doing, or planning, and thinking of? What was there in the whole of the journey of the Antonii; except depopulation, devastation, slaughter, and rapine? Actions which Hannibal never did, because he was reserving many things for his own use, these men do, as men who live merely for the present hour; they never have given a thought not only to the fortunes and welfare of the citizens, but not even to their own advantage.
Are we then, O ye good gods, to resolve to send ambassadors to this man? Are those men who propose this acquainted with the constitution of the republic, with the laws of war, with the precedents of our ancestors? Do they give a thought to what the majesty of the Roman people and the severity of the senate requires? Do you resolve to send ambassadors? If to beg his mercy, he will despise you; if to declare your commands, he will not listen to them; and last of all, however severe the message may be which we give the ambassadors, the very name of ambassadors will extinguish this ardor of the Roman people which we see at present, and break the spirit of the municipal towns and of Italy. To say nothing of these arguments, though they are weighty, at all events that sending of an embassy will cause delay and slowness to the war. Although those who propose it should say, as I hear that some intend to say,—“Let the ambassadors go, but let war be prepared for all the same.” Still the very name of ambassadors will damp men's courage, and delay the rapidity of the war.
The most important events, O conscript fathers, are often determined by very trivial moving influences in every circumstance that can happen in the republic, and also in war, and especially in civil war, which is usually governed a great deal by men's opinions and by reports. No one will ask what is the commission with which we have sent the ambassadors; the mere name of an embassy, and that sent by us of our, own accord, will appear an indication of fear. Let him depart from Mutina; let him cease to attack Brutus; let him retire from Gaul. He must not be begged in words to do so; he must be compelled by arms. For we are not sending to Hannibal to desire him to retire from before Saguntum; to whom the senate formerly sent Publius Valerius Flaccus and Quintus. Baebius Tampilus; who, if Hannibal did not comply, were ordered to proceed to Carthage. Whither do we order our ambassadors to proceed, if Antonius does not comply? Are we sending an embassy to our own citizen, to beg him not to attack a general and a colony of the Roman people? Is it so? Is it becoming to us to beg this by means of ambassadors? What is the difference in the name of the immortal gods, whether he attacks this city itself or whether he attacks an outpost of this city a colony of the Roman people established for the sake of its being a bulwark and protection to us? The siege of Saguntum was the cause of the second Punic war, which Hannibal carried on against our ancestors. It was quite right to send ambassadors to him They were sent to a Carthaginian, they were sent on behalf of those who were the enemies of Hannibal and our allies. What is there resembling that case here? We are sending to one of our own citizens to beg him not to blockade a general of the Roman army, not to attack our army and our colony,—in short not to be an enemy or ours. Come; suppose he obeys, shall we either be inclined, or shall we be able by any possibility, to treat him as one of our citizens?
On the nineteenth of December, you overwhelmed him with your decrees; you ordained that this motion should be submitted to you on the first of January, which you see is submitted now, respecting the honors and rewards to be conferred on those who have deserved or do deserve well of the republic. And the chief of those men you have adjudged to be the man who really has done so, Caius Caesar, who had diverted the nefarious attacks of Marcus. Antonius against this city, and compelled him to direct them against Gaul; and next to him you consider the veteran soldiers who first followed Caesar; then those excellent and heavenly-minded legions the Martial and the fourth, to whom you have promised honors and rewards, for having not only abandoned their consul, but for having even declared war against him. And on the same day, having a decree brought before you and published on purpose, you praised the conduct of Decimus Brutus, a most excellent citizen, and sanctioned with your public authority this war which he had undertaken of his own head.
What else, then, did you do on that day except pronounce Antonius a public enemy? After these decrees of yours, will it be possible for him to look upon you with equanimity, or for you to behold him without the most excessive indignation! He has been excluded and cut off and wholly separated from the republic, not merely by his own wickedness, as it seems to me, but by some especial good fortune of the republic. And if he should comply with the demands of the ambassadors and return to Rome, do you suppose that abandoned citizens will ever be in need of a standard around which to rally? But this is not what I am so much afraid of. There are other things which I am more apprehensive of and more alarmed at. He never will comply with the demands of the ambassadors. I know the man's insanity and arrogance; I know the desperate counsels of his friends, to which he is wholly given up. Lucius his brother, as being a man who has fought abroad, leads on his household. Even suppose him to be in his senses himself, which he never will be; still he will not be allowed by these men to act as if he were so. In the mean time, time will be wasted. The preparations for war will cool. How is it that the war has been protracted as long as this, if it is not by procrastination and delay?
From the very first moment after the departure, or rather after the hopeless flight of that bandit, that the senate could have met in freedom, I have always been demanding that we should be called together. The first day that we were called together, when the consuls elect were not present, I laid, in my opinion, amidst the greatest unanimity on your part, the foundations of the republic; later, indeed, than they should have been laid; for I could not do so before; but still if no time had been lost after that day, we should have no war at all now. Every evil is easily crushed at its birth; when it has become of long standing, it usually gets stronger. But then every body was waiting for the first of January; perhaps not very wisely.
However, let us say no more of what is past Are we still to allow any farther delay while the ambassadors are on their road to him? and while they are coming back again? and the time spent in waiting for them will make men doubt about the war. And while the fact of the war is in doubt, how can men possibly be zealous about the levies for the army?
Wherefore, O conscript fathers, I give my vote that there should be no mention made of ambassadors. I think that the business that is to be done must be done without any delay and instantly. I say that it is necessary that we should decree that there is sedition abroad, that we should suspend the regular courts of justice, order all men to wear the garb of war, and enlist men in all quarters suspending all exemptions from military service in the city and in all Italy except in Gaul. And if this be done, the general opinion and report of your severity will overwhelm the insanity of that wicked gladiator. He will feel that he has undertaken a war against the republic; he will experience the sinews and vigor of a unanimous senate. For at present he is constantly saying that it is a mere struggle between parties. Between what parties? One party is defeated, the other is the heart of Caius Caesar's party. Unless, indeed we believe that the party of Caesar is attacked by Pansa and Hirtius the consuls and by Caius Caesar's son. But this war has been kindled not by a struggle between parties, but by the nefarious hopes of the most abandoned citizens; by whom all our estates and properties had been marked down, and already distributed according as every one has thought them desirable.
I have read the letter of Antonius which he sent to one of the septemviri, a thorough-paced scoundrel, a. colleague of his own. “Look out, and see what you take a fancy to; what you do fancy you shall certainly have.” See to what a man we are sending ambassadors; against what a man we are delaying to make war; a man who does not even let us draw lots for our fortunes, but hands us over to each man's caprice in such a way, that he has not left even himself any thing untouched, or which has not been promised to somebody. With this man, O conscript fathers, we must wage war,—war, I say, and that instantly. We must reject the slow proceedings of ambassadors.
Therefore, that we may not have a number of decrees to pass every day, I give my vote that the whole republic should be committed to the consuls; and that they should have a charge given them to defend the republic, and to take care “that the republic suffer no injury.” And I give my vote that those men who are in the army of Antonius be not visited with blame, if they leave him before the first of February.
If you adopt these proposals or mine, O conscript fathers, you will in a short time recover the liberty of the Roman people and your own authority. But if you act with more mildness, still you will pass those resolutions, but perhaps you will pass them too late. As to the general welfare of the republic, on which you, O consuls, have consulted us, I think that I have proposed what is sufficient.
The next question is about honors. And to this point I perceive that I must speak next. But I will preserve the same order in paying respect to brave men, that is usually preserved in asking their opinions.
Let us, therefore, according to the usages of our ancestors, begin with Brutus, the consul elect; and, to say nothing of his former conduct,—which has indeed been most admirable, but still such as has been praised by the individual judgments of men, rather than by public authority,—what words can we find adequate to his praise at this very time? For such great virtue requires no reward except this one of praise and glory; and even if it were not to receive that, still it would be content with itself, and would rejoice at being laid up in the recollection of grateful citizens, as if it were placed in the full light. The praise then of our deliberate opinion, and of our testimony in his favor, must be given to Brutus. Therefore, O conscript fathers, I give my vote that a resolution of the senate be passed a these words:
“As Decimus Brutus, imperator, consul elect, is maintaining the province of Gaul in obedience to the senate and people of Rome; and as he has enlisted and collected in so short a time a very numerous army, being aided by the admirable zeal of the municipal towns and colonies of the province of Gaul, which has deserved and still does deserve admirably well of the republic; he has acted rightly and virtuously, and greatly for the advantage of the republic. And that most excellent service done by Decimus Brutus to the republic, is and always will be, grateful to the senate and people of Rome. Therefore, the senate and the Roman people is of opinion that the exertions, and prudence, and virtue of Decimus Brutus, imperator and consul-elect, and the incredible zeal and unanimity of the province of Gaul, have been a great assistance to the republic, at a most critical time.”
What honor, O conscript fathers, can be too great to be due to such a mighty service as this of Brutus, and to such important aid as he has afforded the republic? For if Gaul had been open to Marcus Antonius—if after having overwhelmed the municipal towns and colonies unprepared to resist him, he had been able to penetrate into that farther Gaul—what great danger would have hung over the republic! That most insane of men, that man so headlong and furious in all his courses,—would have been likely I suppose to hesitate at waging war against us not only with his own army but with all the savage troops of barbarism, so that even the wall of the Alps would not have enabled us to check his frenzy. These thanks then will be deservedly paid to Decimus Brutus, who, before any authority of yours had been interposed, acting on his own judgment and responsibility, refused to receive him as consul, but repelled him from Gaul as an enemy, and preferred to be besieged himself rather than to allow this city to be so. Let him therefore have, by your decree, an everlasting testimony to this most important and glorious action, and let Gaul,[*](The English reader must recollect that what is called Gaul in these orations, is Cisalpine Gaul, containing what we now call the North of Italy, coming down as far south as Modena and Ravenna.) which always is and has been a protection to this empire and to the general liberty be deservedly and truly praised for not having surrendered herself and her power to Antonius but for having opposed him with them.
And, furthermore I give my vote that the most simple honors be decreed to Marcus Lepidus as a reward for his eminent services to the republic. He has at all times wished the Roman people to be free; and he gave the greatest proof of his inclination and opinion on that day, when, while Antonius was placing the diadem on Caesar's head, he turned his face away, and by his groans and sorrow showed plainly what a hatred of slavery he had, how desirous he was for the Roman people to be free, and how he had endured those things which he had endured, more because of the necessity of the times, than because they harmonized with his sentiments. And who of us can forget with what great moderation he behaved during that crisis of the city which ensued after the death of Caesar? These are great merits; but I hasten to speak of greater still. For (O ye immortal gods!) what could happen more to be admired by foreign nations, or more to be desired by the Roman people than, at a time when there was a most important civil war, the result of which we were all dreading, that it should be extinguished by prudence rather than that arms and violence should be able to put every thing to the hazard of a battle? And if Caesar had been guided by the same principles in that odious and miserable war, we should have—to say nothing of their father—the two sons of Cnaeus Pompeius, that most illustrious and virtuous man, safe among us; men whose piety and filial affection certainly ought not to have been their ruin. Would that Marcus. Lepidus had been able to save them all! He showed that he would have done so, by his conduct in cases where he had the power; when he restored Sextus Pompeius to the state, a great ornament to the republic, and a most illustrious monument of his clemency. Sad was that picture, melancholy was the destiny then of the Roman people. For after Pompeius the father was dead, he who was the light of the Roman people, the son too, who was wholly like his father, was also slain. But all these calamities appear to me to have been effaced by the kindness of the immortal gods, Sextus Pompeius being preserved to the republic.
For which cause, reasonable and important as it is, and because Marcus Lepidus, by his humanity and wisdom, has changed a most dangerous and extensive civil war into peace and concord, I give my vote, that a resolution of the senate be drawn up in these words:
“Since the affairs of the republic have repeatedly been well and prosperously conducted by Marcus Lepidus, imperator, and Pontifex Maximus, and since the Roman people is fully aware that kingly power is very displeasing to him; and since by his exertions, and virtue, and prudence, and singular clemency and humanity, a most bitter civil war has been extinguished; and Sextus Pompeius Magnus, the son of Cnaeus, having submitted to the authority of this order and laid down his arms, and, in accordance with the perfect good-will of the senate and people of Rome, has been restored to the state by Marcus Lepidus, imperator, and Pontifex Maximus; the senate and people of Rome, in return for the important and numerous services of Marcus Lepidus to the republic, declares that it places great hopes of future tranquillity and peace and concord, in his virtue, authority, and good fortune; and the senate and people of Rome will ever remember his services to the republic; and it is decreed by the vote of this order, that a gilt equestrian statue be erected to him in the Rostra, or in whatever other place in the forum he pleases.”
And this honor, O conscript fathers, appears to me a very great one, in the first place, because it is just;—for it is not merely given on account of our hopes of the future, but it is paid, as it were, in requital of his ample services already done. Nor are we able to mention any instance of this honor having been conferred on any one by the senate by their own free and voluntary judgment before.
I come now to Caius Caesar, O conscript fathers; if he had not existed, which of us could have been alive now? That most intemperate of men, Antonius, was flying from Brundusium to the city, burning with hatred, with a disposition hostile to all good men, with an army. What was there to oppose to his audacity and wickedness? We had not as yet any generals, or any forces. There was no public council, no liberty; our necks were at the mercy of his nefarious cruelty; we were all preparing to have recourse to flight, though flight itself had no escape for us. Who was it—what god was it; who at that time gave to the Roman people this godlike young man, who, while every means for completing our destruction seemed open to that most pernicious citizen, rising up on a sudden, beyond every one's hope, completed an army fit to oppose the fury of Marcus Antonius before any one suspected that he was thinking of any such step? Great honors were paid to Cnaeus Pompeius when he was a young man and deservedly, for he came to the assistance of the republic but he was of a more vigorous age and more calculated to meet the eager requirements of soldiers seeking a general. He had also been already trained in other kinds of war. For the cause of Sulla was not agreeable to all men. The multitude of the proscribed, and the enormous calamities that fell on so many municipal towns show this plainly. But Caesar, though many years younger, armed veterans who were now eager to rest; he has embraced that cause which was most agreeable to the senate, to the people, to all Italy,—in short, to gods and men. And Pompeius came as a reinforcement to the extensive command and victorious army of Lucius Sulla, Caesar had no one to join himself to. He of his own accord was the author and executor of his plan of levying an army, and arraying a defense for us. Pompeius found the whole Picene district hostile to the party of his adversaries; but Caesar has levied an army against Antonius from men who were Antonius's own friends, but still greater friends to liberty. It was owing to the influence of Pompeius that Sulla was enabled to act like a king. It is by the protection afforded us by Caesar that the tyranny of Antonius has been put down.
Let us then confer on Caesar a regular military command, without which the military affairs can not be directed, the army can not be held together, war can not he waged. Let him be made propraetor with all the privileges which have ever been attached to that appointment. That honor, although it is a great one for a man of his age, still is not merely of influence as giving dignity, but it confers powers calculated to meet the present emergency. Therefore, let us seek for honors for him which we shall not easily find at the present day.
But I hope that we and the Roman people shall often have an opportunity of complimenting and honoring this young man. But at the present moment I give my vote that we should pass a decree in this form:
“As Caius Caesar, the son of Caius, pontiff and propraetor, has at a most critical period of the republic exhorted the veteran soldiers to defend the liberty of the Roman people, and has enlisted them in his army; and as the Martial legion and the fourth legion, with great zeal for the republic, and with admirable unanimity, under the guidance and authority of Caius Caesar, have defended and are defending the republic and the liberty of the Roman people; and as Caius Caesar, propraetor, has gone with his army as a reinforcement to the province of Gaul; has made cavalry, and archers, and elephants, obedient to himself and to the Roman people, and has, at a most critical time for the republic, come to the aid of the safety and dignity of the Roman people;—on these accounts, it seems good to the senate that Caius Caesar, the son of Caius, pontiff and propraetor, shall be a senator, and shall deliver his opinions from the bench occupied by men of praetorian rank; and that, on occasion of his offering himself for any magistracy, he shall be considered of the same legal standing and qualification as if he had been quaestor the preceding year.”
For what reason can there be, O conscript fathers, why we should not wish him to arrive at the highest honors at as early an age as possible? For when, by the laws fixing the age at which men might be appointed to the different magistracies, our ancestors fixed a more mature age for the consulship, they were influenced by fears of the precipitation of youth; Caius Caesar at his first entrance into life, has shown us that, in the case of his eminent and unparalleled virtue, we have no need to wait for the progress of age. Therefore our ancestors, those old men in the most ancient times, had no laws regulating the age for the different offices; it was ambition which caused them to be passed many years afterwards, in order that there might be among men of the same age different steps for arriving at honors And it has often happened that a disposition of great natural virtue has been lost before it had any opportunity of benefiting the republic
But among the ancients, the Rulli, the Decii, the Corvini, and many others and in more modern times the elder Africanus and Titus Flaminius were made consuls very young, and performed such exploits as greatly to extend the empire of the Roman people, and to embellish its name What more? Did not the Macedonian Alexander, having begun to perform mighty deeds from his earliest youth, die when he was only in his thirty-third year? And that age is ten years less than that fixed by our laws for a man to be eligible for the consulship. From which it may be plainly seen that the progress of virtue is often swifter than that of age.
For as to the fear which those men, who are enemies of Caesar, pretend to entertain, there is not the slightest reason to apprehend that he will be unable to restrain and govern himself, or that he will be so elated by the honors which he receives from us as to use his power without moderation. It is only natural, O conscript fathers, that the man who has learned to appreciate real glory, and who feels that he is considered by the senate and by the Roman knights and the whole Roman people a citizen who is dear to, and a blessing to the republic, should think nothing whatever deserving of being compared to this glory. Would that it had happened to Caius Caesar—the father, I mean—when he was a young man, to be beloved by the senate and by every virtuous citizen, but, having neglected to aim at that, he wasted all the power of genius which he had in a most brilliant degree, in a capricious pursuit of popular favor. Therefore, as he had not sufficient respect for the senate and the virtuous part of the citizens, he opened for himself that path for the extension of his power, which the virtue of a free people was unable to bear.
But the principles of his son are widely different; who is not only beloved by every one, but in the greatest degree by the most virtuous men. In him is placed all our hope of liberty; from him already has our safety been received; for him the highest honors are sought out and prepared. While therefore we are admiring his singular prudence, can we at the same time fear his folly? For what can be more foolish than to prefer useless power, such influence as brings envy in its train, and a rash and slippery ambition of reigning, to real, dignified, solid glory? Has he seen this truth as a boy, and when he has advanced in age will he cease to see it? “But he is an enemy to some most illustrious and excellent citizens.” That circumstance ought not to cause any fear. Caesar has sacrificed all those enmities to the republic; he had made the republic his judge; he has made her the directress of all his counsels and actions. For he is come to the service of the republic in order to strengthen her, not to overturn her. I am well acquainted with all the feelings of the young man: there is nothing dearer to him than the republic, nothing which he considers of more weight than your authority; nothing which he desires more than the approbation of virtuous men; nothing which he accounts sweeter than genuine glory.
Wherefore you not only ought not to fear any thing from him, but you ought to expect greater and better things still. Nor ought you to apprehend with respect to a man who has already gone forward to release Decimus Brutus from a siege, that the recollection of his domestic injury will dwell in his bosom, and have more weight with him than the safety of the city. I will venture even to pledge my own faith, O conscript fathers, to you, and to the Roman people, and to the republic, which in truth, if no necessity compelled me to do so, I would not venture to do, and in doing which on slight grounds, I should be afraid of giving rise to a dangerous opinion of my rashness in a most important business; but I do promise, and pledge myself, and undertake, O conscript fathers, that Caius Caesar will always be such a citizen as he is this day, and as we ought above all things to wish and desire that he may turn out.
And as this is the case, I shall consider that I have said enough at present about Caesar.
Nor do I think that we ought to pass over Lucius Egnatuleius, a most gallant and wise and firm citizen, and one thoroughly attached to the republic, in silence; but that we ought to give him our testimony to his admirable virtue, because it was he who led the fourth legion to Caesar, to be a protection to the consuls, and senate, and people of Rome, and the republic. And for these acts I give my vote:
“That it be made lawful for Lucius Egnatuleius to stand for, and be elected to, and discharge the duties of any magistracy, three years before the legitimate time.”
And by this motion, O conscript fathers, Lucius Egnatuleius does not get so much actual advantage as honor. For in a case like this it is quite sufficient to be honorably mentioned.
But concerning the army of Caius Caesar, I give my vote for the passing of a decree in this form:
“The senate decrees that the veteran soldiers who have defended and are defending --- of Caesar, pontiff --- and the authority of this order should and their children after them, have an exemption from military service. And that Caius Pansa and Aulus Hirtius the consuls, one or both of them, as they think fit, shall inquire what land there is in those colonies in which the veteran soldiers have been settled which is occupied in defiance of the provisions of the Julian law, in order that that may be divided among these veterans. That they shall institute a separate inquiry about the Campanian district, and devise a plan for the advantages enjoyed by these veteran soldiers, and with respect to the Martial legion, and to the fourth legion and to those soldiers of the second and thirty fifth legions who have come over to Caius Pansa and Aulus Hirtius, the consuls, and have given in their names, because the authority of the senate and the liberty of the Roman people is and always has been most dear to them, the senate decrees that they and their children shall have exemption from military service, except in the case of any Gallic and Italian sedition; and decrees further, that those legions shall have their discharge when this war is terminated; and that whatever sum of money Caius Caesar, pontiff and propraetor, has promised to the soldiers of those legions individually shall be paid to them. And that Caius Pansa and Aulus Hirtius the consuls, one or both of them, as it seems good to them, shall make an estimate of the land which can be distributed without injury to private individuals; and that land shall be given and assigned to the soldiers of the Martial legion and of the fourth legion, in the largest shares in which land has ever been given and assigned to soldiers.”
I have now spoken, O consuls, on every point concerning which you have submitted a motion to us; and if the resolutions which I have proposed be decreed without delay, and seasonably, you will the more easily prepare those measures which the present time and emergency demand. But instant action is necessary. And if we had adopted that earlier, we should, as I have often said, now have no war at all.
In respect of the honors proposed by Cicero in the last speech the senate agreed with him, voting to Octavius honors beyond any that Cicero had proposed. But they were much divided about the question of sending an embassy to Antonius; and the consuls, seeing that a majority agreed with Cicero, adjourned the debate till the next day. The discussion lasted three days, and the senate would at last have adopted all Cicero's measures, if one of the tribunes, Salvius, had not put his veto on them. So that at last the embassy was ordered to be sent, and Servius Sulpicius, Lucius Piso, and Lucius Philippus, appointed as the ambassadors; but they were charged merely to order Antonius to abandon the siege of Mutina, and to desist from hostilities against the province of Gaul; and farther, to proceed to Decimus Brutus in Mutina, and to give him and his army the thanks of the senate and people.
The length of the debates roused the curiosity of the people, who, being assembled in the forum to learn the result, called on Cicero to come forth and give them an account of what had been done; on which he went to the rostra, accompanied by Publius Appuleius the tribune, and related to them all that had passed in the following speech.
I imagine that you have heard, O Romans, what has been done in the senate and what has been the opinion delivered by each individual. For the matter which has been in discussion ever since the first of January, has been just brought to a conclusion; with less severity indeed than it ought to have been, but still in a manner not altogether unbecoming. The war has been subjected to a delay, but the cause has not been removed. Wherefore, as to the question which Publius Appuleius,—a man united to me by many kind offices and by the closest intimacy, and firmly attached to your interests—has asked me, I will answer in such a manner that you may be acquainted with the transactions at which you were not present.
The cause which prompted our most fearless and excellent consuls to submit a motion on the first of January, concerning the general state of the republic, arose from the decree which the senate passed by my advice on the nineteenth of December. On that day, O Romans were the foundations of the republic first laid. For then, after a long interval, the senate was free in such a manner that you too might become free. On which day, indeed,—even if it had been to bring to me the end of my life—I received a sufficient, reward for my exertions, when you all with one heart and one voice cried out together, that the republic had been a second time saved by me. Stimulated by so important and so splendid a decision of yours in my favor, I came into the senate on the first of January, with the feeling that I was bound to show my recollection of the character which you had imposed upon me, and which I had to sustain.
Therefore, when I saw that a nefarious war was waged against the republic, I thought that no delay ought to be interposed to our pursuit of Marcus Antonius, and I gave my vote that we ought to pursue with war that most audacious man, who, having committed many atrocious enemies before, was at this moment attacking a general of the Roman people and besieging your most faithful and gallant colony; and that a state of civil war ought to be proclaimed; and I said farther, that my opinion was that a suspension of the ordinary forms of justice should be declared, and that the garb of war should be assumed by the citizens, in order that all men might apply themselves with more activity and energy to avenging the injuries of the republic, if they saw that all the emblems of a regular war had been adopted by the senate. Therefore, this opinion of mine, O Romans, prevailed so much for three days, that although no division was come to, still all, except a very few, appeared inclined to agree with me. But today—I know not, owing to what circumstance—the senate was more indulgent. For the majority decided on our making experiment, by means of ambassadors, how much influence the authority of the senate and your unanimity will have upon Antonius.
I am well aware, O Romans, that this decision is disapproved of by you; and reasonably too. For to whom are we sending ambassadors? Is it not to him who, after having dissipated and squandered the public money, and imposed laws on the Roman people by violence and in violation of the auspices,—after having put the assembly of the people to flight and besieged the senate, sent for the legions from Brundusium to oppress the republic? who, when deserted by them; has invaded Gaul with a troop of banditti? who is attacking Brutus? who is besieging Mutina? How can you offer conditions to, or expect equity from, or send an embassy to, or, in short, have any thing in common with, this gladiator? Although, O Romans, it is not an embassy, but a denunciation of war if he does not obey. For the decree has been drawn up as if ambassadors were being sent to Hannibal. For men are sent to order him not to attack the consul elect, not to besiege Mutina, not to lay waste the province, not to enlist troops, but to submit himself to the power of the senate and people of Rome. No doubt he is a likely man to obey this injunction, and to submit to the power of the conscript fathers and to yours, who has never even had any mastery over himself. For what has he ever done that showed any discretion, being always led away wherever his lust, or his levity, or his frenzy, or his drunkenness has hurried him? He has always been under the dominion of two very dissimilar classes of men, pimps and robbers; he is so fond of domestic adulteries and forensic murders, that he would rather obey a most covetous woman than the senate and people of Rome.
Therefore, I will do now before you what I have just done in the senate. I call you to witness, I give notice, I predict beforehand, that Marcus. Antonius will do nothing whatever of those things which the ambassadors are commissioned to command him to do; but that he will lay waste the lands, and besiege Mutina, and enlist soldiers, wherever he can. For he is a man who has at all times despised the judgment and authority of the senate, and your inclinations and power. Will he do what it has been just now decreed that he shall do,—lead his army back across the Rubicon, which is the frontier of Gaul, and yet at the same time not come nearer Rome than two hundred miles? Will he obey this notice? will he allow himself to be confined by the river Rubicon, and by the limit of two hundred miles? Antonius is not that sort of man. For if he had been, he would never have allowed matters to come to such a pass, as for the senate to give him notice, as it did to Hannibal at the beginning of the Punic war not to attack Saguntum. But what ignominy it is to be called away from Mutina, and at the same time to be forbidden to approach the city as if he were some fatal conflagration! what an opinion is this for the senate to have of a man! What? As to the commission which is given to the ambassadors to visit Decimus Brutus and his soldiers, and to inform them that their excellent zeal in behalf of, and services done to the republic, are acceptable to the senate and people of Rome, and that that conduct shall tend to their great glory and to their great honor; do you think that Antonius will permit the ambassadors to enter Mutina? and to depart from thence in safety? He never will allow it, believe me. I know the violence of the man, I know his impudence, I know his audacity.
Nor, indeed, ought we to think of him as of a human being, but as of a most ill-omened beast. And as this is the case, the decree which the senate has passed is not wholly improper. The embassy has some severity in it; I only wish it had no delay. For as in the conduct of almost every affair slowness and procrastination are hateful, so above all things does this war require promptness of action. We must assist Decimus Brutus; we must collect all our forces from all quarters; we can not lose a single hour in effecting the deliverance of such a citizen without wickedness. Was it not in his power, if he had considered Antonius a consul, and Gaul the province of Antonius, to have given over the legions and the province to Antonius? and to return home himself? and to celebrate a triumph? and to be the first man in this body to deliver his opinion, until he entered on his magistracy? What was the difficulty of doing that? But as he remembered that he was Brutus, and that he was born for your freedom, not for his own tranquillity, what else did he do but—as I may almost say—put his own body in the way to prevent Antonius from entering Gaul? Ought we then to send ambassadors to this man, or legions? However, we will say nothing of what is past. Let the ambassadors hasten, as I see that they are about to do. Prepare your robes of war. For it has been decreed, that, if he does not obey the authority of the senate, we are all to betake ourselves to our military dress. And we shall have to do so. He will never obey. And we shall lament that we have lost so many days, when we might have been doing something.
I have no fear, O Romans, that when Antonius hears that I have asserted, both in the senate and in the assembly of the people, that he never will submit himself to the power of the senate, he will, for the sake of disproving my words, and making me to appear to have had no foresight, alter his behavior and obey the senate. He will never do so. He will not grudge me this part of my reputation; he will prefer letting me be thought wise by you to being thought modest himself. Need I say more? Even if he were willing to do so himself, do you think that his brother Lucius would permit him? It has been reported that lately at Tibur, when Marcus Antonius appeared to him to he wavering, he, Lucius, threatened his brother with death. And do we suppose that the orders of the senate, and the words of the ambassadors, will be listened to by this. Asiatic gladiator? It will be impossible for him to be separated from a brother, especially from one of so much authority. For he is another Africanus among them. He is considered of more influence than Lucius Trebellius, of more than Titus Plancus --- a noble young man. As for Plancus, who, having been condemned by the unanimous vote of every one, amid the overpowering applause of you yourselves, somehow or other got mixed up in this crowd, and returned with a countenance so sorrowful, that he appeared to have been dragged back rather than to have returned, he despises him to such degree, as if he were interdicted from fire and water. At times he says that that man who set the senate-house on fire has no right to a place in the senate-house. For at this moment he is exceedingly in love with Trebellius. He hated him some time ago, when he was opposing an abolition of debts; but now he delights in him, ever since he has seen that Trebellius himself can not continue in safety without an abolition of debts. For I think that you have heard, O Romans, what indeed you may possibly have seen, that the sureties and creditors of Lucius Trebellius meet every day. Oh confidence! for I imagine that Trebellius has taken this surname; what can be greater confidence than defrauding one's creditors? than flying from one's house? than, because of one's debts, being forced to go to war? What has become of the applauses which he received on the occasion of Caesar's triumph, and often at the games? Where is the aedileship that was conferred on him by the zealous efforts of all good men? who is there who does not now think that he acted virtuously by accident? ---