56."The Thebans have done us many other injuries;but this last, which is the cause of what we now suffer, you yourselves know what it was.
For we avenged us but justly of those that in time of peace, and upon the day of our novilunial sacrifice, had surprised our city;and by the law of all nations it is lawful to repel an assailing enemy, and therefore there is no reason you should punish us now for them.
For if you shall measure justice by your and their present benefit in the war, it will manifestly appear that you are not judges of the truth but respecters only of your profit.
And yet if the Thebans seem profitable to you now, we and the rest of the Grecians were more profitable to you then when you were in greater danger.For though the Thebans are now on your side when you invade others;yet at that time when the barbarian came in to impose servitude on all, they were on his.
It is but justice that with our present offence (if we have committed any) you compare our forwardness then which you will find both greater than our fault and augmented also by the circumstance of such a season when it was rare to find any Grecian that durst oppose his valour to Xerxes' power, and when they were most commended not that with safety helped to further his invasion but that adventured to do what was most honest, though with danger.
But we being of that number and honoured for it amongst the first are afraid lest the same shall be now a cause of our destruction, as having chosen rather to follow the Athenians justly than you profitably.
But you should ever have the same opinion in the same case and think this only to be profitable that doing what is useful for the present occasion, you reserve withal a constant acknowledgment of the virtue of your good confederates.
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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