Immense Exertions of Rome
The conclusion, then, is that those who put themselves
in the power of the enemy from want of proper precaution
deserve blame; but those who use every practicable precaution
not so: for to trust absolutely no one is to make all action impossible; but reasonable action, taken after receiving adequate
security, cannot be censured. Adequate securities are oaths,
children, wives, and, strongest of all, a blameless past. To be
betrayed and entrapped by such a security as any of these is a
slur, not on the deceived, but on the deceiver. The first
object then should be to seek such securities as it is impossible
for the recipient of the confidence to evade; but since such
are rare, the next best thing will be to take every reasonable
precaution one's self: and then, if we meet with any disaster, we
shall at least be acquitted of wrong conduct by the lookers on.
And this has been the case with many before now: of which the
most conspicuous example, and the one nearest to the times on
which we are engaged, will be the fate of Achaeus. He
omitted no possible precaution for securing his safety, but
thought of everything that it was possible for
human ingenuity to conceive: and yet he fell
into the power of his enemies.
In this instance
his misfortune procured the pity and pardon
of the outside world for the victim, and nothing but disparagement and loathing for the successful perpetrators. . . .