38."But these things, as I said before, the Athenians, considering, I am very sure will look unto their own;
and our men talk here of things that neither are or ever will be, who I know have desired, not only now but ever, by such reports as these or by worse, or by their actions, to put the multitude in fear that they themselves might rule the state.And I am afraid, lest attempting it often, they may one day effect it;and for us, we are too poor-spirited either to foresee it ere it be done, or foreseeing to prevent it.
By this means our city is seldom quiet, but subject to sedition and contention, not so much against the enemy as within itself, and sometimes also to tyranny and usurpation.Which I will endeavour (if you will second me) so to prevent hereafter as nothing more of this kind shall befall you;
which must be done, first by gaining you the multitude, and then by punishing the authors of these plots, not only when I find them in the action (for it will be hard to take them so), but also for those things which they would and cannot do.For one must not only take revenge upon an enemy for what he hath already done, but strike him first for his evil purpose;for if a man strike not first, he shall first be stricken.And as for the few, I shall in somewhat reprove them, in somewhat have an eye to them, and in somewhat advise them.For this, I think, will be the best course to avert them from their bad intentions.
Tell me forsooth (I have asked this question often), you that are the younger sort, What would you have?Would you now bear office?The law allows it not;and the law was made because ye are not [now] sufficient for government, not to disgrace you when you shall be sufficient.But forsooth, you would not be ranked with the multitude!But what justice is it, that the same men should not have the same privileges?
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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