92.‘Men of Boeotia, it ought never to have so much as entered into the thought of any of us the commanders that, because we find not the Athenians now in Boeotia, it should therefore be unfit to give them battle.For they out of a bordering country have entered Boeotia and fortified in it with intent to waste it, and are indeed enemies in whatsoever ground we find them, or whencesoever they come doing the acts of hostility.
But now if any man think it also unsafe, let him henceforth be of another opinion.For providence, in them that are invaded, endureth not such deliberation concerning their own as may be used by them who, retaining their own, out of desire to enlarge, voluntarily invade the estate of another.
And it is the custom of this country of yours, when a foreign enemy comes against you, to fight with him both on your own and on your neighbour's ground alike;but much more you ought to do it against the Athenians when they be borderers.
For liberty with all men is nothing else but to be a match for the cities that are their neighbours.With these, then, that attempt the subjugation not only of their neighbours, but of estates far from them, why should we not try the utmost of our fortune?We have for example the estate that the Euboeans over against us, and also the greatest part of the rest of Greece, do live in under them.And you must know that though others fight with their neighbours about the bounds of their territories, we, if we be vanquished, shall have but one bound amongst us all, so that we shall no more quarrel about limits.
For if they enter, they will take all our several states into their own possession by force.So much more dangerous is the neighbourhood of the Athenians than of other people.And such as upon confidence in their strength invade their neighbours, as the Athenians now do, use to be bold in warring on those that sit still, defending themselves only in their own territories;whereas they be less urgent to those that are ready to meet them without their own limits, or [also] to begin the war when opportunity serveth.
We have experience hereof in these same men.For after we had overcome them at Coroneia, at what time through our own sedition they held our country in subjection, we established a great security in Boeotia, which lasted till this present.
Remembering which, we ought now, the elder sort to imitate our former acts there, and the younger sort, who are the children of those valiant fathers, to endeavour not to disgrace the virtue of their houses;but rather with confidence that the god, whose temple fortified they unlawfully dwell in, will be with us, the sacrifices we offered him appearing fair, to march against them, and let them see that though they may gain what they covet when they invade such as will not fight, yet men that have the generosity to hold their own in liberty by battle, and not invade the state of another unjustly, will never let them go away unfoughten.’
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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