20But, (for this is what I hear is said,) I myself gave by my own vote an extraordinary commission to Caius Cæsar. Ay, indeed, for he had given me extraordinary protection; when I say me, I mean he had given it to the senate and to the Roman people. Was I to refuse giving an extraordinary military command to that man from whom the republic had received protection which had never even been thought of, but that still was of so much consequence that without it she could not have been safe? There were only the alternatives of taking his army from him, or giving him such a command. For on what principle or by what means can an army be retained by a man who has not been invested with any military command? We must not, therefore, think that a thing has been given to a man which has, in fact, not been taken away from him. You would, O conscript fathers, have taken a command away from Caius Cæsar, if you had not given him one. The veteran soldiers, who, following his authority and command and name, had taken up arms in the cause of the republic, desired to be commanded by him. The Martial legion and the fourth legion had submitted to the authority of the senate, and had devoted themselves to uphold the dignity of the republic, in such a way as to feel that they had a right to demand Caius Cæsar for their commander. It was the necessity of the war that invested Caius Cæsar with military command; the senate only gave him the ensigns of it. But I beg you to tell me, O Lucius Cæsar,—I am aware that I am arguing with a man of the greatest experience,—when did the senate ever confer a military command on a private individual who was in a state of inactivity, and doing nothing?
IX. However, I have been speaking hitherto to avoid the appearance of gratuitously opposing a man who is a great friend of mine, and who has showed me great kindness. Although, can one deny a thing to a person who not only does not ask for it, but who even refuses it?