45."I say, therefore, that death hath been in states ordained for a punishment of many offences, and those not so great but far less than this.Yet encouraged by hope, men hazard themselves;nor did any man ever yet enter into a practice which he knew he could not go through with.
And a city when it revolteth, supposeth itself to be better furnished, either of themselves or by their confederates, than it is, or else it would never take the enterprise in hand.
They have it by nature, both men and cities, to commit offences;nor is there any law that can prevent it.For men have gone over all degrees of punishment, augmenting them still, in hope to be less annoyed by malefactors.And it is likely that gentler punishments were inflicted of old even upon the most heinous crimes;but that in tract of time, men continuing to transgress, they were extended afterwards to the taking away of life;
and yet they still transgress.And therefore, either some greater terror than death must be devised, or death will not be enough for coercion.For poverty will always add boldness to necessity;and wealth, covetousness to pride and contempt.And the other [middle] fortunes, they also through human passion, according as they are severally subject to some insuperable one or other, impel men to danger.
But hope and desire work this effect in all estates.And this as the leader, that as the companion;this contriving the enterprise, that suggesting the success are the cause of most crimes that are committed, and being least discerned, are more mischievous than evils seen.
Besides these two, fortune also puts men forward as much as anything else.For presenting herself sometimes unlooked for, she provoketh some to adventure, though not provided as they ought for the purpose, and especially cities because they venture for the greatest matters, as liberty and dominion over others;and amongst a generality, everyone, though without reason, somewhat the more magnifies himself in particular.
In a word, it is a thing impossible and of great simplicity to believe when human nature is earnestly bent to do a thing that by force of law or any other danger it can be diverted.
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
This text was converted to electronic form by optical character recognition and has been proofread to a high level of accuracy.
An XML version of this text is available for download,
with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted
changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.