I have noticed, O conscript fathers, that some people have said before now, that even Brutus is too much extolled by me, that Cassius is too much extolled; and that by this proposition of mine absolute power and quite a principality is conferred upon Cassius. Whom do I extol? Those who are themselves the glory of the republic. What? have I not at all times extolled Decimus Brutus whenever I have delivered my opinion at all? Do you then find fault with me? or should I rather praise the Antonii, the disgrace and infamy not only of their own families, but of the Roman name? or should I speak in favour of Censorenus, an enemy in time of war, an assassin in time of peace? or should I collect all the other ruined men of that band of robbers? But I am so far from extolling those enemies of tranquility, of concord, of the laws, of the courts of justice, and of liberty, that I cannot avoid hating them as much as I love the republic. “Beware,” says one, “how you offend the veterans.” For this is what I am most constantly told. But I certainly ought to protect the rights of the veterans; of those at least who are well disposed; but surely I ought not to fear them. And those veterans who have taken up arms in the cause of the republic, and have followed Caius Caesar, remembering the kindnesses which they received from his father, and who at this day are defending the republic to their own great personal danger,—those I ought not only to defend, but to seek to procure additional advantages for them. But those also who remain quiet, such as the sixth and eighth legion, I consider worthy of great glory and praise. But as for those companions of Antonius, who after they have devoured the benefits of Caesar, besiege the consul elect, threaten this city with fire and sword, and have given themselves up to Saxa and Capho, men born for crime and plunder, who is there who thinks that those men ought to be defended? Therefore the veterans are either good men, whom we ought to load with distinctions, or quiet men, whom we ought to preserve, or impious ones, against whose frenzy we have declared war and taken up legitimate arms.
XV. Who then are the veterans whom we are to be fearful of offending? Those who are desirous to deliver Decimus Brutus from siege? for how can those men, to whom the safety of Brutus is dear, hate the name of Cassius? Or those men who abstain from taking arms on either side? I have no fear of any of those men who delight in tranquility becoming a mischievous citizen. But as for the third class, whom I call not veteran soldiers, but infamous enemies, I wish to inflict on them the most bitter pain. Although, O conscript fathers, how long are we to deliver our opinions as it may please the veterans? why are we to yield so much to their haughtiness? why are we to make their arrogance of such importance as to choose our generals with reference to their pleasure? But I (for I must speak, O conscript fathers, what I feel,) think that we ought not so