If I escape all these great dangers too, do you think my return will be completely safe? For when I have, according to my usual custom, defended your authority, and have proved my good faith towards the republic, and my firmness; then I shall have to fear, not those men alone who hate me, but those also who envy me. Let my life then be preserved for the republic, let it be kept for the service of my country as long as my dignity or nature will permit; and let death either be the necessity of fate, or, if it must be encountered earlier, let it be encountered with glory.
This being the case, although the republic has no need (to say the least of it) of this embassy, still if it be possible for me to go on it in safety, I am willing to go. Altogether, O conscript fathers, I shall regulate the whole of my conduct in this affair, not by any consideration of my own danger, but by the advantage of the republic. And, as I have plenty of time, I think that it behoves me to deliberate upon that over and over again, and to adopt that line of conduct which I shall judge to be most beneficial to the republic.
Antonius wrote a long letter to Hirtius and to Octavius, to persuade them that they were acting against their true interests and dignity in combining with the slayers of Julius Caesar against him. But they, instead of answering this letter, sent it to Cicero at Rome. At the same time Lepidus wrote a public letter to the senate to exhort them to measures of peace; and to a reconciliation with Antonius; and took no notice of the public honours which had been decreed to him in compliance with Cicero’s motion. The senate was much displeased at this. They agreed, however, to a proposal of Servilius—to thank Lepidus for his love of peace, but to desire him to leave that to them; as there could be no peace till Antonius had laid down his arms. But Antonius’s friends were encouraged by Lepidus’s letter to renew their suggestions of a treaty; which caused Cicero to deliver the following speech to the senate for the purpose of counteracting the influence of their arguments.