39."To put you out of this humour, I say unto you that the Mytilenaeans have done us more injury than ever did any one city.
For those that have revolted through the over-hard pressure of our government or that have been compelled to it by the enemy, I pardon them.But they that were islanders and had their city walled so as they needed not fear our enemies but only by sea, in which case also they were armed for them with sufficient provision of galleys, and they that were permitted to have their own laws and whom we principally honoured, and yet have done thus, what have they done but conspired against us and rather warred upon us than revolted from us (for a revolt is only of such as suffer violence) and joined with our bitterest enemies to destroy us?This is far worse than if they had warred against us for increasing of their own power.
But these men would neither take example by their neighbour's calamity, who are, all that revolted, already subdued by us;nor could their own present felicity make them afraid of changing it into misery, but being bold against future events and aiming at matters above their strength though below their desires, have taken arms against us and preferred force before justice.For no sooner they thought they might get the victory but immediately, though without injury done them, they rose against us.But with cities that come to great and unexpected prosperity, it is usual to turn insolent;
whereas most commonly that prosperity which is attained according to the course of reason is more firm than that which cometh unhoped for;and such cities, as one may say, do more easily keep off an adverse, than maintain a happy, fortune.
Indeed we should not formerly have done any honour more to the Mytilenaeans than to the rest of our confederates, for then they had never come to this degree of insolence.For it is natural to men to contemn those that observe them and to have in admiration such as will not give them way.
Now therefore let them be punished according to their wicked dealing, and let not the fault be laid upon a few and the people be absolved.For they have all alike taken arms against us;and the commons, if they had been constrained to it, might have fled hither and have recovered their city afterwards again.But they, esteeming it the safer adventure to join with the few, are alike with them culpable of the revolt.
Have also in consideration your confederates;and if you inflict the same punishment on them that revolt upon compulsion of the enemy that you do on them that revolt of their own accord, who, think you, will not revolt, though on light pretence, seeing that speeding they win their liberty and failing their case is not incurable?
Besides, that against every city we must be at a new hazard, both of our persons and fortunes.Wherein with the best success we recover but an exhausted city and lose that wherein our strength lieth, the revenue of it;but miscarrying, we add these enemies to our former and must spend that time in warring against our own confederates, which we needed to employ against the enemies we have already.
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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