43.'But we take an opposite course; and still worse.Even when we know a man to be giving the1 wisest counsel, a suspicion of corruption is set on foot; and from a jealousy
which is perhaps groundless we allow the state to lose an undeniable advantage.
It has come to this, that the best advice when offered in plain terms is as much
distrusted as the worst; and not only he who wishes to lead the multitude into the most
dangerous courses must deceive them, but he who speaks in the cause of right must make
himself believed by lying.
In this city, and in this city only, to do good openly and without deception is
impossible, because you are too clever; and, when a man confers an unmistakable benefit
on you, he is rewarded by a suspicion that, in some underhand manner, he gets more than
But, whatever you may suspect2, when great interests are at stake, we who advise ought to look further and
weigh our words more carefully than you whose vision is limited.And you should remember that we are accountable for our advice to you, but you who
listen are accountable to nobody.
If he who gave and he who followed evil counsel suffered equally, you would be more
reasonable in your ideas; but now, whenever you meet with a reverse, led away by the
passion of the moment you punish the individual who is your adviser for his error of
judgment, and your own error you condone, if the judgments of many concurred in it.
But you are too clever: you are always suspecting that a speaker has some
interested motive. You punish the giver of bad advice, and not yourselves for
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