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12. 'What trust then could we repose in such a friendship or such a freedom as this? The1 civility which we showed to one another was at variance with our real feelings. They courted us in time of war because they were afraid of us, and we in time of peace paid a like attention to them. And the faith which is generally assured by mutual good-will had with us no other bond but mutual fear; from fear, and not from love, we were constrained to maintain the alliance, and which ever of us first thought that he could safely venture would assuredly have been the first to break it. [2] And therefore if any one imagines that we do wrong in striking first, because they delay the blow which we dread, and thinks that we should wait and make quite sure of their intentions, he is mistaken. [3] If we were really on an equality with them and in a position to counteract their designs and imitate their threatening attitude, how was it consistent with this equality that we had still to be at their mercy? The power of attack is always in their hands, and the power of anticipating attack should always be in ours.

1 It was not mutual love but mutual fear which united us. We struck first because we were not on an equality with them; we were always liable to be attacked, and were therefore at their mercy.

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load focus Notes (Charles F. Smith, 1894)
load focus Notes (E.C. Marchant, 1909)
load focus English (1910)
load focus English (Thomas Hobbes, 1843)
load focus Greek (1942)
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