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“‘Now, Ischomachus,’ said I, ‘when you find your man so competent to rule that he can make them obedient, do you think him a perfect bailiff, or does he want anything else, even with the qualifications you have mentioned?’ [2]

“‘Of course, Socrates,’ returned Ischomachus, ‘he must be honest and not touch his master's property. For if the man who handles the crops dares to make away with them, and doesn't leave enough to give a profit on the undertaking, what good can come of farming under his management?’ [3]

“‘Then do you take it on yourself to teach this kind of justice too?’

“‘Certainly: I don't find, however, that all readily pay heed to this lesson. [4] Nevertheless I guide the servants into the path of justice with the aid of maxims drawn from the laws of Draco and Solon. For it seems to me that these famous men enacted many of their laws with an eye on this particular kind of justice. [5] For it is written: “thieves shall be fined for their thefts,” and “anyone guilty of attempt shall be imprisoned if taken in the act, and put to death.”1 The object of these enactments was clearly to make covetousness unprofitable to the offender. [6] By applying some of these clauses and other enactments found in the Persian king's code, I try to make my servants upright in the matters that pass through their hands. [7] For while those laws only penalise the wrongdoer,2 the king's code not only punishes the guilty, but also benefits the upright. Thus, seeing that the honest grow richer than the dishonest, many, despite their love of lucre, are careful to remain free from dishonesty. [8] And if I find any attempting to persist in dishonesty, although they are well treated, I regard them as incorrigibly greedy, and have nothing more to do with them. [9] On the other hand, if I discover that a man is inclined to be honest not only because he gains by his honesty, but also from a desire to win my approbation, I treat him like a free man by making him rich; and not only so, but I honour him as a gentleman. [10] For I think, Socrates, that the difference between ambition and greed consists in this, that for the sake of praise and honour the ambitious are willing to work properly, to take risks and refrain from dishonest gain.’”

1 This is neither a clear nor an exact statement of the law attributed to Solon in Dem. 24.113; and some suspect a corruption in the text.

2 Mem. III. iv. 8.

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    • Demosthenes, Against Timocrates, 113
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