27.The people of Athens being advertised of the state of their army, how it was in distress, and that victual was transported into the island, knew not what they should do to it and feared lest winter should overtake them in their siege, fearing not only that to provide them of necessaries about Peloponnesus, and in a desert place withal, would be a thing impossible, but also that they should be unable to send forth so many things as were requisite, though it were summer;and again, that the parts thereabout being without harbour, there would be no place to lie anchor in against them, but that the watch there ceasing of itself, the men would by that means escape or in some foul weather be carried away in the same boats that brought them meat.
But that which they feared most was that the Lacedaemonians seemed to have some assurance of them already, because they sent no more to negotiate about them.
And they repented now that they had not accepted of the peace.But Cleon, knowing himself to be the man suspected for hindering the agreement, said that they who brought the news reported not the truth.Whereupon, they that came thence advising them, if they would not believe it, to send to view the estate of the army, he and Theogenes were chosen by the Athenians to view it.
But when he saw that he must of force either say as they said whom he before calumniated or, saying the contrary, be proved a liar, he advised the Athenians, seeing them inclined of themselves to send thither greater forces than they had before thought to do, that it was not fit to send to view the place nor to lose their opportunity by delay;
but if the report seemed unto them to be true, they should make a voyage against those men;and glanced at Nicias, the son of Niceratus, then general, upon malice and with language of reproach, saying it was easy, if the leaders were men, to go and take them there in the island;and that himself, if he had the command, would do it.
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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