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141. "Resolve therefore from this occasion either to yield them obedience before you receive damage, or if we must have war (which for my part I think is best), be the pretence weighty or light, not to give way nor keep what we possess in fear. For a great and a little claim imposed by equals upon their neighbours before judgment by way of command hath one and the same virtue, to make subject. [2] As for the war, how both we and they be furnished, and why we are not like to have the worse, by hearing the particulars you shall now understand. [3] The Peloponnesians are men that live by their labour without money either in particular or in common stock. Besides, in long wars and by sea they are without experience, for that the wars which they have had one against another have been but short through poverty. [4] And such men can neither man their fleets nor yet send out their armies by land very often, because they must be far from their own wealth and yet by that be maintained and be besides barred the use of the sea. [5] It must be a stock of money, not forced contributions, that support the wars; and such as live by their labour are more ready to serve the wars with their bodies than with their money. For they make account that their bodies will outlive the danger, but their money they think is sure to be spent, especially if the war (as it is likely) should last. [6] So that the Peloponnesians and their confederates, though for one battle they be able to stand out against all Greece besides, yet to maintain a war against such as have their preparations of another kind, they are not able; inasmuch as not having one and the same counsel, they can speedily perform nothing upon the occasion; and having equality of vote and being of several races, everyone will press his particular interest, whereby nothing is like to be fully executed. [7] For some will desire to take revenge on some enemy and others to have their estates least wasted. And being long before they can assemble, they take the lesser part of their time to debate the common business and the greater to dispatch their own private affairs. And everyone supposeth that his own neglect of the common estate can do little hurt and that it will be the care of somebody else to look to that for his own good, not observing how by these thoughts of everyone in several the common business is jointly ruined.

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load focus Notes (Charles D. Morris)
load focus Notes (E.C. Marchant)
load focus English (Benjamin Jowett, 1881)
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