If your courage and fidelity had not been sufficiently proved by me,
this favorable opportunity would have occurred to no purpose;
mighty hopes, absolute power, would in vain be within our grasp; nor
should I, depending on irresolution or ficklemindedness, pursue
contingencies instead of certainties. But as I have, on many remarkable
occasions, experienced your bravery and attachment to me, I have
ventured to engage in a most important and glorious enterprise. I am
aware, too, that whatever advantages or evils affect you, the same
affect me; and to have the same desires and the same aversions, is
assuredly a firm bond of friendship.
What I have been meditating you have already heard separately. But my
ardor for action is daily more and more excited, when I consider what
our future condition of life must be, unless we ourselves assert our
claims to liberty. For since the government has fallen under the
power and jurisdiction of a few, kings and princes have constantly
been their tributaries; nations and states have paid them taxes; but all
the rest of us, however brave and worthy, whether noble or plebeian,
have been regarded as a mere mob, without interest or authority, and
subject to those, to whom, if the state were in a sound condition, we
should be a terror. Hence, all influence, power, honor, and wealth, are
in their hands, or where they dispose of them: to us they have left only
insults, dangers, persecutions, and poverty. To such indignities,
O bravest of men, how long will you submit? Is it not better to die in
a glorious attempt, than, after having been the sport of other men's
insolence, to resign a wretched and degraded existence with ignominy?
But success (I call gods and men to witness!) is in our own hands.
Our years are fresh, our spirit is unbroken; among our oppressors, on
the contrary, through age and wealth a general debility has been
produced. We have therefore only to make a beginning; the course of
events will accomplish the rest.
From "Conspiracy of Catiline and The Jurgurthine War", by Sallust.