71.‘Now notwithstanding, men of Lacedaemon, that this city, your adversary, be such as we have said, yet you still delay time, not knowing that those only are they to whom it may suffice for the most part of their time to sit still who, though they use not their power to do injustice, yet bewray a mind unlikely to swallow injuries, but placing equity belike in this, that you neither do any harm to others nor receive it in defending of yourselves.
But this is a thing you hardly could attain, though the states about you were of the same condition.But, as we have before declared, your customs are in respect of theirs antiquated;
and of necessity, as it happeneth in arts, the new ones will prevail.True it is that for a city living for the most part in peace, unchanged customs are the best;but for such as be constrained to undergo many matters, many devices will be needful.Which is also the reason why the Athenian customs, through much experience, are more new to you than yours are to them.
Here, therefore, give a period to your slackness and by a speedy invasion of Attica, as you promised, relieve both Potidaea and the rest, lest otherwise you betray your friends and kindred to their cruelest enemies, and lest we and others be driven through despair to seek out some other league.
Which to do were no injustice neither against the Gods, judges of men's oaths, nor against men, the hearers of them.For not they break the league who being abandoned have recourse to others, but they that yield not their assistance to whom they have sworn it.But if you mean to follow the business seriously, we will stay;
for else we should do irreligiously, neither should we find any other more conformable to our manners than yourselves.
Therefore, deliberate well of these points, and take such a course that Peloponnesus may not by your leading fall into worse estate than it was left unto you by your progenitors.’
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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