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82. Not that I would have you shut your eyes to their designs and abstain from unmasking1 them, or tamely suffer them to injure our allies. But do not take up arms yet. Let us first send and remonstrate with them: we need not let them know positively whether we intend to go to war or not. In the meantime our own preparations may be going forward; we may seek for allies wherever we can find them, whether in Hellas or among the Barbarians, who will supply our deficiencies in ships and money. Those who, like ourselves, are exposed to Athenian intrigue cannot be blamed if in self-defence they seek the aid not of Hellenes only, but of Barbarians. And we must develop our own resources to the utmost. [2] If they listen to our ambassadors, well and good; but, if not, in two or three years' time we shall be in2 stronger position, should we then determine to attack them. [3] Perhaps too when they begin to see that we are getting ready,3 and that our words are to be interpreted by our actions a, they may be more likely to yield; for their fields will be still untouched and their goods undespoiled, and it will be in their power to save them by their decision. [4] Think, of their land simply in the light of a hostage, all the more valuable in proportion as it is better cultivated; you should spare it as long as you can, and not by reducing them to despair make their resistance more obstinate. [5] For if we allow ourselves to be stung into premature action by the reproaches of our allies, and waste their country before we are ready, we shall only involve Peloponnesus in more and more difficulty and disgrace. [6] Charges brought by cities or persons against one another can be satisfactorily arranged; but when a great confederacy, in order to satisfy private grudges, undertakes a war of which no man can foresee the issue, it is not easy to terminate it with honour.

1 Do not take up arms yet.

2 Or, 'and that our words too sound a note of war.'

3 Or, 'and that our words too sound a note of war.'

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