VII Wherefore, O Romans, with all the prudence of which I am master, and with almost more exertion than I am capable of, will I put forth my vigilance and watchfulness in your behalf In truth, what citizen is there, especially in this rank in which you have placed me, so forgetful of your kindness, so unmindful of his country, so hostile to his own dignity, as not to be roused and stimulated by your wonderful unanimity? I, as consul, have held many assemblies of the people, I have been present at many others, I have never once seen one so numerous as this one of yours now is. You have all one feeling, you have all one desire, that of averting the attempts of Marcus Antonius from the republic, of extinguishing his frenzy and crushing his audacity. All orders have the same wish. The municipal towns, the colonies, and all Italy are labouring for the same end. Therefore you have made the senate, which was already pretty firm of its own accord, firmer still by your authority. The time has come, O Romans, later altogether than for the honour of the Roman people it should have been, but still so that the things are now so ripe that they do not admit of a moment’s delay. There has been a sort of fatality, if I may say so, which we have borne as it was necessary to bear it. But hereafter if any disaster happens to us it will be of our own seeking. It is impossible for the Roman people to be slaves, that people whom the immortal gods have ordained should rule over all nations. Matters are now come to a crisis. We are fighting for our freedom. Either you must conquer, O Romans, which indeed you will do if you continue to act with such piety and such unanimity, or you must do anything rather than become slaves. Other nations can endure slavery. Liberty is the inalienable possession of the Roman people.
After the senate had decided on sending them, the ambassadors immediately set out, though Servius Sulpicius was in a very bad state of health. In the meantime the partisans of Antonius in the city, with Calenus at their head were endeavouring to gain over the rest of the citizens, by representing him as eager for an accommodation and they kept up a correspondence with him, and published such of his letters as they thought favourable for their views. Matters being in this state, Cicero, at an ordinary meeting of the senate, made the following speech to counteract the machinations of this party, and to warn the citizens generally of the danger of being deluded by them.