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December 1st. — We steered for the island of Lemuy. I

source:Lookout Response Networkedit:hottime:2023-12-02 00:41:01

I have only one last resource--philosophy: and to make her plead for me, as though I doubted the efficacy of a mere request: philosophy, the best friend I have ever had in all my life, the greatest gift which has been bestowed by the gods upon mankind. Yes! this common sympathy in tastes and studies--our inseparable devotion and attachment to which from boyhood have caused us to become almost unique examples of men bringing that true and ancient philosophy (which some regard as only the employment of leisure and idleness) down to the forum, the council chamber, and the very camp itself--pleads the cause of my glory with you: and I do not think a Cato can, with a good conscience, say her nay. Wherefore I would have you convince yourself that, if my despatch is made the ground of paying me this compliment with your concurrence, I shall consider that the dearest wish of my heart has been fulfilled owing at once to your influence and to your friendship.

December 1st. — We steered for the island of Lemuy. I

I RECEIVED your letter on the fifth day before the Terminalia (19th of February) at Laodicea. I was delighted to read it, for it teemed with affection, kindness, and an active and obliging temper. I will, therefore, answer it sentence by sentence--for such is your request--and I will not introduce an arrangement of my own, but will follow your order.

December 1st. — We steered for the island of Lemuy. I

You say that the last letter you had of mine was from Cybistra, dated 21st September, and you want to know which of yours I have received. Nearly all you mention, except the one that you say that you delivered to Lentulus's messengers at Equotuticus and Brundisium. Wherefore your industry has not been thrown away, as you fear, but has been exceedingly well laid out, if, that is to say, your object was to give me pleasure. For I have never been more delighted with anything. I am exceedingly glad that you approve of my self-restraint in the case of Appius, and of my independence even in the case of Brutus: and I had thought that it might be somewhat otherwise. For Appius, in the course of his journey, had sent me two or three rather querulous letters, because I rescinded some of his decisions. It is exactly as if a doctor, upon a patient having been placed under another doctor, should choose to be angry with the latter if he changed some of his prescriptions. Thus Appius, having treated the province on the system of depletion, bleeding, and removing everything he could, and having handed it over to me in the last state of exhaustion, he cannot bear seeing it treated by me on the nutritive system. Yet he is sometimes angry with me, at other times thanks me; for nothing I ever do is accompanied with any reflexion upon him. It is only the dissimilarity of my system that annoys him. For what could be a more striking difference--under his rule a province drained by charges for maintenance and by losses, under mine, not a penny exacted either from private persons or public bodies? Why speak of his praefecti, staff, and legates? Or even of acts of plunder, licentiousness, and insult? While as things actually are, no private house, by Hercules, is governed with so much system, or on such strict principles, nor is so well disciplined, as is my whole province. Some of Appius's friends put a ridiculous construction on this, holding that I wish for a good reputation to set off his bad one, and act rightly, not for the sake of my own credit, but in order to cast reflexion upon him. But if Appius, as Brutus's letter forwarded by you indicated, expresses gratitude to me, I am satisfied. Nevertheless, this very day on which I write this, before dawn, I am thinking of rescinding many of his inequitable appointments and decisions.

December 1st. — We steered for the island of Lemuy. I

I now come to Brutus, whose friendship I embraced with all possible earnestness on your advice. I had even begun to feel genuine affection for him--but here I pull myself up short, lest I should offend you: for don't imagine that there is anything I wish more than to fulfil his commissions, or that there is anything about which I have taken more trouble. Now he gave me a volume of commissions, and you had already spoken with me about the same matters. I have pushed them on with the greatest energy. To begin with, I put such pressure on Ariobarzanes, that he paid him the talents which he promised me. As long as the king was with me, the business was in excellent train: later on he begun to be pressed by countless agents of Pompey. Now Pompey has by himself more influence than all the rest put together for many reasons, and especially because there is an idea that he is coming to undertake the Parthian war. However, even he has to put up with the following scale of payment: on every thirtieth day thirty-three Attic talents (7,920 pounds), and that raised by special taxes: nor is it sufficient for the monthly interest. But our friend Gnaeus is an easy creditor: he stands out of his capital, is content with the interest, and even that not in full. The king neither pays anyone else, nor is capable of doing so: for he has no treasury, no regular income, He levies taxes after the method of Appius. They scarcely produce enough to satisfy Pompey's interest. The king has two or three very rich friends, but they stick to their own as energetically as you or I. For my part, nevertheless, I do not cease sending letters asking, urging, chiding the king. Delotarus also has informed me that he has sent emissaries to him on Brutus's business: that they have brought him back word that he has not got the money. And, by Hercules, I believe it is the case; nothing can be stripped cleaner than his kingdom, or be more needy than the king. Accordingly, I am thinking either of renouncing my guardianship, or, as Scaevola did on behalf of Glabrio, of stopping payment altogether--principal and interest alike. However, I have conferred the prefectures which I promised Brutus through you on M. Scaptius and L. Gavius, who were acting as Brutus's agents in the kingdom: for they were not carrying on business in my own province. You will remember that I made that condition, that he might have as many prefectures as he pleased, so long as it was not for a man in business. Accordingly, I have given him two others besides: but the men for whom he asked them had left the province. Now for the case of the Salaminians, which I see came upon you also as a novelty, as it did upon me. For Brutus never told me that the money was his own. Nay, I have his own document containing the words, "The Salaminians owe my friends M. Scaptius and P. Matinius a sum of money." He recommends them to me: he even adds, as though by way of a spur to me, that he has gone surety for them to a large amount. I had succeeded in arranging that they should pay with interest for six years at the rate of twelve per cent, and added yearly to the capital sum. But Scaptius demanded forty-eight per cent. I was afraid, if he got that, you yourself would cease to have any affection for me. For I should have receded from my own edict, and should have titterly ruined a statc which was under the protection not only of Cato, but also of Brutus himself, and had been the recipient of favours from myself. When lo and behold! at this very juncture Scaptius comes down upon me with a letter from Brutus, stating that his own property is being imperilled--a fact that Brutus had never told either me or you. He also begged that I would confer a prefecture on Scaptius. That was the very reservation that I had made to you--" not to a man in business": and if to anyone, to such a man as that--no I for he has been a praefectus to Appius, and had, in fact, had some squadrons of cavalry, with which he had kept the senate under so close a siege in their own council chamber at Salamis, that five senators died of starvation. Accordingly, the first day of my entering my province, Cyprian legates having already visited me at Ephesus, I sent orders for the cavalry to quit the island at once. For these reasons I believe Scaptius has written some unfavorable remarks about me to Brutus. However, my feeling is this: if Brutus holds that I ought to have decided in favour of forty-eight per cent., though throughout my province I have only recognized twelve per cent., and had laid down that rule in my edict with the assent even of the most grasping money-lenders; if he complains of my refusal of a prefecture to a man in business, which I refused to our friend Torquatus in the case of your prot?g? Lamius, and to Pompey himself in the case of Sext. Statius, without offending either of them; if, finally, he is annoyed at my recall of the cavalry, I shall indeed feel some distress at his being angry with me, but much greater distress at finding him not to be the man that I had thought him. Thus much Scaptius will own--that he had the opportunity in my court of taking away with him the whole sum allowed by my edict. I will add a fact which I fear you may not approve. The interest ought to have ceased to run (I mean the interest allowed by my edict), but I induced the Salasninians to say nothing about that. They gave in to me, it is true, but what will become of them if Paullus comes here? However, I have granted all this in favour of Brutus, who writes very kind letters to you about me, but to me myself, even when he has a favour to ask, writes usually in a tone of hauteur, arrogance, and offensive superiority. You, however, I hope will write to him on this business, in order that I may know how he takes what I have done. For you will tell me. I have, it is true, written you a full and careful account in a former letter, but I wished you clearly to understand that I had not forgotten what you had said to me in one of your letters: that if I brought home from this province nothing else except his goodwill, I should have done enough. By all means, since you will have it so: but I assume my dealings with him to be without breach of duty on my part. Well, then, by my decree the payment of the money to Statius is good at law: whether that is just you must judge for yourself--I will not appeal even to Cato. But don't think that I have cast your exhortations to the winds: they have sunk deeply into my mind. With tears in your eyes you urged me to be careful of my reputation. Have I ever got a letter from you without the same subject being mentioned? So, then, let who will be angry, I will endure it: "for the right is on my side," especially as I have given six books as bail, so to speak, for my good conduct. I am very glad you like them, though in one point--about Cn. Flavius, son of Annius--you question my history. He, it is true, did not live before the decemvirs, for he was curule aedile, an office created many years after the decemvirs. What good did he do, then, by publishing the Fasti? It is supposed that the tablet containing them had been kept concealed up to a certain date, in order that information as to days for doing business might have to be sought from a small coterie. And indeed several of our authorities relate that a scribe named Cn. Flavius published the Fasti and composed forms of pleading--so don't imagine that I, or rather Africanus (for he is the spokesman), invented the fact. So you noticed the remark about the "action of an actor," did you? You suspect a malicious meaning: I wrote in all simplicity.

You say that Philotimus told you about my having been saluted imperator. But I feel sure that, as you are now in Epirus, you have received my own letters on the whole subject, one from Pindenissus after its capture, another from Laodicea, both delivered to your own messengers. On these events, for fear of accidents at sea, I sent a public despatch to Rome in duplicate by two different letter-carriers.

As to my Tullia, I agree with you, and I have written to her and to Terentia giving my consent. For you have already said in a previous letter to me, "and I could wish that you had returned to your old set." There was no occasion to alter the letter you sent by Memnius: for I much prefer to accept this man from Pontidia, than the other from Servilia. Wherefore take our friend Saufeius into council. He was always fond of me, and now I suppose all the more so as he is bound to have accepted Appius's affection for me with the rest of the property he has inherited. Appius often showed how much he valued me, and especially in the trial of Bursa. Indeed you will have relieved me of a serious anxiety.

I don't like Furnius's proviso. For, in fact, there is no state of things that alarms me except just that of which he makes the only exception. But I should have written at great length to you on this subject if you had been at Rome. I don't wonder that you rest all your hope of peace on Ponipey: I believe that is the truth, and in my opinion you must strike out your word " insincerity." If my arrangement of topics is somewhat random, blame yourself: for I am following your own haphazard order.

My son and nephew are very fond of each other. They take their lessons and their exercise together; but as Isocrates said of Ephorus and Theopompus, the one wants the rein, the other the spur. I intend giving Quintus the toga virilis on the Liberalia. For his father commissioned me to do so. And I shall observe th? day without taking intercalation into account. I am very fond of Dionysius: the boys, however, say that he gets into mad passions. But after all there could not be a man of greater learning, purer character, or more attached to you and me. The praises you hear of Thermus and Silius are thoroughly deserved: they conduct themselves in the most honourable manner. You may say the same of M. Nonius, Bibulus, and myself, if you like. I only wish Scrofa had had an opportunity to do the same: for he is an excellent fellow. The rest don't do much honour to Cato's policy. Many thanks for commending my case to Hortensius. As for Amianus, Dionysius thinks there is no hope. I haven't found a trace of Terentius. Maeragenes has certainly been killed. I made a progress through his district, in which there was not a single living thing left. I didn't know about this, when I spoke to your man Democritus. I have ordered the service of Rhosian ware. But, hallo! what are you thinking of? You generally serve us up a dinner of herbs on fern-pattern plates, and the most sparkling of baskets: what am I to expect you to give on porcelain? I have ordered a horn for Phemius: one will be sure to turn up; I only hope he may play something worthy of it.

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