60.The people of Athens bearing this in mind, and remembering all they had heard concerning them, were extremely bitter and full of jealousy towards those that had been accused of the mysteries, and thought all to have been done upon some oligarchical or tyrannical conspiracy.
And whilst they were passionate upon this surmise, many worthy men had already been cast in prison;and yet they were not likely so to give over, but grew daily more savage, and sought to apprehend more still.Whilst they were at this pass, a prisoner that seemed most to be guilty was persuaded by one of his fellow prisoners to accuse somebody, whether it were true or not true;(for it is but conjectural on both sides;nor was there ever, then or after, any man that could say certainly who it was that did the deed);
who brought him to it by telling him that though he had not done it, yet he might be sure to save his own life and should deliver the city from the present suspicion;and that he should be more certain of his own safety by a free confession than by coming to his trial if he denied it.
Hereupon, he accused both himself and others for the Mercuries.The people of Athens, gladly receiving the certainty (as they thought) of the fact, and having been much vexed before to think that the conspirators should never [perhaps] be discovered to their multitude, presently set at liberty the accuser and the rest with him whom he had not appeached;but for those that were accused, they appointed judges, and all they apprehended they executed;and having condemned to die such as fled, they ordained a sum of money to be given to those that should slay them.
And though it were all this while uncertain whether they suffered justly or unjustly, yet the rest of the city had a manifest ease for the present.
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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