TO VIBIUS MAXIMUS
I THINK I may claim a right to ask the same services of you for my friends, as I would offer to yours if I were in your station. Arrianus Maturus is a person of great eminence among the Altinates. When I call him so, it is not with respect to his fortunes (which, however, are very considerable); it is in view to the purity, the integrity, the prudence, and the gravity of his manners. His counsel steers me in my affairs, and his judgement directs me in my studies; for truth, honour and understanding, are the shining qualities which mark his character. He loves me (and I cannot express his affection in stronger terms) with a tenderness equal to yours. As he is a stranger to ambition, he has contentedly remained in the Equestrian order, when he might easily have advanced himself into the highest rank.
It behoves me, however, to take care he be advanced and ennobled; and I would fain without his knowledge or expectation, nay, even perhaps contrary to his inclination, add to his dignity. But the post I would obtain for him should be something very honourable, and attended with no trouble. I beg when anything of that nature offers, you would confer it on him; it will be an obligation, which both he and I shall ever remember with the greatest gratitude. For though he has no aspiring wishes to satisfy, he will be as sensible of the favour, as if he had received it in consequence of his own desires. Farewell.