As to their allegation that they wished the
question to be first submitted to arbitration, it is obvious that a
challenge coming from the party who is safe in a commanding position, cannot
gain the credit due only to him who, before appealing to arms, in deeds as
well as words, places himself on a level with his adversary.
In their case, it was not before they laid siege to the place, but after
they at length understood that we should not tamely suffer it, that they
thought of the specious word arbitration.And not satisfied with their own misconduct there, they appear here now
requiring you to join with them not in alliance, but in crime, and to
receive them in spite of their being at enmity with us.
But it was when they stood firmest, that they should have made overtures to
you, and not at a time when we have been wronged, and they are in peril; nor yet at a time when you will be admitting to a share in your protection
those who never admitted you to a share in their power, and will be
incurring an equal amount of blame from us with those in whose offences you
had no hand. No, they should have shared their power with you before they asked you to
share your fortunes with them.
Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton. 1910.
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