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[705a] For the sea is, in very truth, “a right briny and bitter neighbor,”1 although there is sweetness in its proximity for the uses of daily life; for by filling the markets of the city with foreign merchandise and retail trading, and breeding in men's souls knavish and tricky ways, it renders the city faithless and loveless, not to itself only, but to the rest of the world as well. But in this respect [705b] our State has compensation in the fact that it is all-productive; and since it is hilly, it cannot be highly productive as well as all-productive; if it were, and supplied many exports, it would be flooded in return with gold and silver money—the one condition of all, perhaps, that is most fatal, in a State, to the acquisition of noble and just habits of life,—as we said, if you remember, in our previous discourse.2

We remember, and we endorse what you said both then and now. [705c]

Well, then, how is our district off for timber for ship-building?

There is no fir to speak of, nor pine, and but little cypress; nor could one find much larch or plane, which shipwrights are always obliged to use for the interior fittings of ships.

Those, two, are natural features which would not be bad for the country.

Why so? [705d]

That a State should not find it easy to copy its enemies in bad habits is a good thing.

To which of our statements does this observation allude?

My dear Sir, keep a watch on me, with an eye cast back on our opening3 statement about the Cretan laws. It asserted that those laws aimed at one single object; and whereas you declared that this object was military strength, I made the rejoinder that, while it was right that such enactments should have virtue for their aim, I did not at all approve of that aim being restricted to a part, instead of applying to the whole. [705e] So do you now, in turn, keep a watch on my present lawmaking, as you follow it, in case I should enact any law either not tending to virtue at all, or tending only to a part of it. For I lay it down as an axiom that no law is rightly enacted which does not aim always, like an archer, at that object, and that alone, which is constantly

1 Quoted from Alcman.

2 Cp. Plat. Laws 679b.

3 Cp. Plat. Laws 625e.

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