42."I will neither blame those who have propounded the business of the Mytilenaeans to be again debated nor commend those that find fault with often consulting in affairs of great importance.But I am of opinion that nothing is so contrary to good counsel as these two, haste and anger, whereof the one is ever accompanied with madness and the other with want of judgment.
And whosoever maintaineth that words are not instructors to deeds, either he is not wise or doth it upon some private interest of his own.Not wise, if he think that future and not apparent things may be demonstrated otherwise than by words;interested, if desiring to carry an ill matter and knowing that a bad cause will not bear a good speech, he go about to deter his opposers and hearers by a good calumniation.But they of all others are most intolerable that when men give public advice will accuse them also of bribery.
For if they charged a man with no more but ignorance when he had spoken in vain, he might yet depart with the opinion of a fool.But when they impute corruption also, if his counsel take place, he is still suspected;and if it do not take place, he shall be held not only a fool but also void of honesty.
The commonwealth gets no good by such courses for through fear hereof it will want counsellors.And the state would do their business for the most part well if this kind of citizens were they that had least ability in speaking, for they should then persuade the city to the fewer errors.
For a good statesman should not go about to terrify those that contradict him but rather to make good his counsel upon liberty of speech.And a wise state ought not either to add unto, or, on the other side, to derogate from, the honour of him that giveth good advice, nor yet punish, nay, nor disgrace, the man whose counsel they receive not.
And then, neither would he that lighteth on good advice deliver anything against his own conscience, out of ambition of further honour and to please the auditory, nor he that doth not, covet thereupon by gratifying the people some way or other that he also may endear them.
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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