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"If no hostile act can be imputed to us, if the pompous language of our envoy, offensive as it was to listen to, did not merit the destruction of our city, what is there left from which we have to clear ourselves?  I hear, senators, that you are discussing the amount of the fine which is to be imposed upon us for our unspoken wishes.  It is alleged that our sympathies were with the king and that we should have preferred to see him victorious, so, some of you think we ought to be punished by war, others hold that while that was our wish we ought not on that account to be punished. In no State has it been laid down either by traditional usage or by positive enactment that whoever wishes the destruction of an enemy, but does nothing to bring it about, shall still suffer capital punishment.  To those of you who are for freeing us from the penalty though not from the charge we are grateful; we assert this principle for ourselves-if, as is alleged, this was the universal wish, we do not distinguish between will and deed, we are all involved.  If some of our leaders were on your side and others on the side of the king, I do not ask that the supporters of the king should enjoy immunity on account of us who were on your side; what I do ask is that we should not perish on account of them.  You are not more angry with them than our State itself is, and, knowing this, most of them have either fled or taken their own lives; others whom we have found guilty will be in your hands, senators.  Though the conduct of the rest of us during the war has merited no gratitude, it certainly has not merited punishment. Let the accumulation of our former services outweigh this failure in our duty.  During these late years you have been engaged in war with three kings; let not the fact that we gave no assistance in one war count more against us than the fact that we fought for you in two wars counts for us.  Let Philip, Antiochus and Perseus stand for three separate verdicts; two acquit us, one is so doubtful as to be adverse. If they were our judges we should be pronounced guilty; you, senators, are now acting as judges as to whether Rhodes is to remain in the world or be utterly blotted out.  The question before you is not one of war; you can commence one, but you cannot continue it, since not a single Rhodian is going to bear arms against you. If you persist in nursing your wrath against us we shall ask for time to carry the tidings of this fatal embassy home.  All of us every free person, every man and woman in Rhodes, will go on board our ships with all the money we possess, and bidding farewell to our national and our household gods, we shall come to Rome.  All the gold and silver belonging to the State, all that individual citizens possess, will be placed in a heap on the Comitium, on the threshold of your senate-house, and we shall deliver up ourselves, our wives and children to you, prepared to suffer whatever may be in store for us. Far removed from our eyes, let our city be plundered and burnt.  The Romans have it in their power to judge the Rhodians to be public enemies, we too can pass some judgment on ourselves;  we shall never judge ourselves to be your enemies, nor will we commit a single hostile act, even if we have to suffer everything that you can inflict upon us."
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