48.This business was set on foot first in the camp and from thence proceeded afterwards into the city.And certain persons went over to Alcibiades out of Samos and had conference with him.And when he had undertaken to bring to their friendship first Tissaphernes and then the king, in case the government were taken from the people, for then, he said, the king might the better rely upon them, they that were of most power in the city, who also were the most toiled out, entered into great hope both to have the ordering of the state at home themselves and victory also over the enemy.
And when they came back to Samos, they drew all such as were for their purpose into an oath of conspiracy with themselves, and to the multitude gave it out openly that if Alcibiades might be recalled and the people put from the government, the king would turn their friend and furnish them with money.
Though the multitude were grieved with this proceeding for the present, yet for the great hope they had of the king's pay they stirred not.But they that were setting up the oligarchy, when they had communicated thus much to the multitude, fell to consideration anew and with more of their complices of the things spoken by Alcibiades.
And the rest thought the matter easy and worthy to be believed;but Phrynichus, who yet was general of the army, liked it not, but thought, as the truth was, that Alcibiades cared no more for the oligarchy than the democracy, nor had any other aim in it but only by altering the government that then was to be called home by his associates;and said they were especially to look to this, that they did not mutiny for the king, who could not very easily be induced (the Peloponnesians being now as much masters at sea as themselves, and having no small cities within his dominions) to join with the Athenians, whom he trusted not, and to trouble himself, when he might have the friendship of the Peloponnesians, that never did him hurt;
as for the confederate cities to whom they promise oligarchy, in that they themselves do put down the democracy, he said, he knew full well that neither those which were already revolted would the sooner return to, nor those that remained be ever the more confirmed in their obedience thereby;
for they would never be so willing to be in subjection either to the few or to the people, as they would be to have their liberty, which side soever it were that should give it them, but would think that even those which are termed the good men, if they had the government, would give them as much to do as the people, being contrivers and authors to the people of doing those mischiefs against them, out of which they make most profit unto themselves;and that if the few had the rule, then they should be put to death unheard and more violently than by the former;
whereas the people is their refuge and moderator of the others' insolence.This, he said, he was certain that the cities thought;in that they had learned the same by the actions themselves;and that therefore what was yet propounded by Alcibiades, he by no means approved.
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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