On their arrival Charminus spoke: "If you have anything to say to us, Medosades, say it; but if not, we have something to say to you." And Medosades submissively made answer: "I say," said he, "and Seuthes says the same: we think we have a right to ask that those who have become our friends should not be ill-treated by you; whatever ill you do to them you really do to us, for they are a part of us." "Good!" replied the Lacedaemonians, "and we intend to go away as soon as those who won for you the people and the territory in question have got their pay. Failing that, we are coming without further delay to assist them and to punish certain others who have broken their oaths and done them wrong. If it should turn out that you come under this head, when we come to exact justice, we shall begin with you." Xenophon added: "Would you prefer, Medosades, to leave it to these people themselves, in whose country we are (your friends, since this is the designation you prefer), to decide by ballot, which of the two should leave the country, you or we?" To that proposal he shook his head, but he trusted the two Laconians might be induced to go to Seuthes about the pay, adding, "Seuthes, I am sure, will lend a willing ear;" or if they could not go, then he prayed them to send Xenophon with himself, promising to lend the latter all the aid in his power, and finally he begged them not to burn the villages. Accordingly they sent Xenophon, and with him a serviceable staff. Being arrived, he addressed Seuthes thus:--
"Seuthes, I am here to advance no claims, but to show you, if I can, 21 how unjust it was on your part to be angered with me because I zealously demanded of you on behalf of the soldiers what you promised them. According to my belief, it was no less to your interest to deliver it up, than it was to theirs to receive it. I cannot forget that, next to the gods, it was they who raised you up to a conspicuous eminence, when they made you king of large territory and many men, a position in which you cannot escape notice, whether you do good or do evil. For a man so circumstanced, I regarded it as a great thing that he should avoid the suspicion even of ungrateful parting with his benefactors. It was a great thing, I thought, that you should be well spoken of by six thousand human beings; but the greatest thing of all, that you should in no wise discredit the sincerity of your own word. For what of the man who cannot be trusted? I see that the words of his mouth are but vain words, powerless, and unhonoured; but with him who is seen to regard truth, the case is otherwise. He can achieve by his words what another achieves by force. If he seeks to bring the foolish to their senses--his very frown, I perceive, has a more sobering effect than the chastisement inflicted by another. Or in negotiations the very promises of such an one are of equal weight with the gifts of another.
"Try and recall to mind in your own case, what advance of money you made to us to purchase our alliance. You know you did not advance one penny. It was simply confidence in the sincerity of your word which incited all these men to assist you in your campaign, and so to acquire for you an empire, worth many times more than thirty talents, which is all they now claim to receive. Here then, first of all, goes the credit which won for you your kingdom, sold for so mean a sum. Let me remind you of the great importance which you then attached to the acquisition of your present conquests. I am certain that to achieve what stands achieved to-day, you would willingly have foregone the gain of fifty times that paltry sum. To me it seems that to lose your present fortune were a more serious loss than never to have won it; since surely it is harder to be poor after being rich than never to 28 have tasted wealth at all, and more painful to sink to the level of a subject, being a king, then never to have worn a crown.
"You cannot forget that your present vassals were not persuaded to become your subjects out of love for you, but by sheer force; and but for some restraining dread they would endeavour to be free again to-morrow. And how do you propose to stimulate their sense of awe, and keep them in good behaviour towards you? Shall they see our soldiers so disposed towards you that a word on your part would suffice to keep them now, or if necessary would bring them back again to-morrow? while others hearing from us a hundred stories in your praise, hasten to present themselves at your desire? Or will you drive them to conclude adversely, that through mistrust of what has happened now, no second set of soldiers will come to help you, for even these troops of ours are more their friends than yours? And indeed it was not because they fell short of us in numbers that they became your subjects, but from lack of proper leaders. There is a danger, therefore, now lest they should choose as their protectors some of us who regard ourselves as wronged by you, or even better men than us--the Lacedaemonians themselves; supposing our soldiers undertake to serve with more enthusiasm, if the debt you owe to them be first exacted; and the Lacedaemonians, who need their services, consent to this request. It is plain, at any rate, that the Thracians, now prostrate at your feet, would display far more enthusiasm in attacking, than in assisting you; for your mastery means their slavery, and your defeat their liberty.
"Again, the country is now yours, and from this time forward you have to make provision for what is yours; and how will you best secure it an immunity from ill? Either these soldiers receive their dues and go, leaving a legacy of peace behind, or they stay and occupy an enemy's country, whilst you endeavour, by aid of a still larger army, to open a new campaign and turn them out; and your new troops will also need provisions. Or again, which will be the greater drain on your purse? to pay off your present debt, or, with that still owing, to bid for more troops, and of a better quality?
"Heracleides, as he used to prove to me, finds the sum excessive. But 35 surely it is a far less serious thing for you to take and pay it back to-day than it would have been to pay the tithe of it, before we came to you; since the limit between less and more is no fixed number, but depends on the relative capacity of payer and recipient, and your yearly income now is larger than the whole property which you possessed in earlier days.
"Well, Seuthes, for myself these remarks are the expression of friendly forethought for a friend. They are expressed in the double hope that you may show yourself worthy of the good things which the gods have given you, and that my reputation may not be ruined with the army. For I must assure you that to-day, if I wished to injure a foe, I could not do so with this army. Nor again, if I wished to come and help you, should I be competent to the task; such is the disposition of the troops towards me. And yet I call you to witness, along with the gods who know, that never have I received anything from you on account of the soldiers. Never to this day have I, to my private gain, asked for what was theirs, nor even claimed the promises which were made to myself; and I swear to you, not even had you proposed to pay me my dues, would I have accepted them, unless the soldiers also had been going to receive theirs too; how could I? How shameful it would have been in me, so to have secured my own interests, whilst I disregarded the disastrous state of theirs, I being so honoured by them. Of course to the mind of Heracleides this is all silly talk; since the one great object is to keep money by whatever means. That is not my tenet, Seuthes. I believe that no fairer or brighter jewel can be given to a man, and most of all a prince, than the threefold grace of valour, justice, and generosity. He that possesses these is rich in the multitude of friends which surround him; rich also in the desire of others to be included in their number. While he prospers, he is surrounded by those who will rejoice with him in his joy; or if misfortune overtake him, he has no lack of sympathisers to give him help. However, if you have failed to learn from my deeds that I was, heart and soul, your friend; if my words are powerless to reveal the fact to-day, I would at least direct your attention to what the 43 soldiers said; you were standing by and heard what those who sought to blame me said. They accused me to the Lacedaemonians, and the point of their indictment was that I set greater store by yourself than by the Lacedaemonians; but, as regards themselves, the charge was that I took more pains to secure the success of your interests than their own. They suggested that I had actually taken gifts from you. Was it, do you suppose, because they detected some ill-will in me towards you that they made the allegation? Was it not rather, that they had noticed my abundant zeal on your behalf?
"All men believe, I think, that a fund of kindly feeling is due to him from whom we accept gifts. But what is your behaviour? Before I had ministered to you in any way, or done you a single service, you welcomed me kindly with your eyes, your voice, your hospitality, and you could not sate yourself with promises of all the fine things that were to follow. But having once achieved your object, and become the great man you now are, as great indeed as I could make you, you can stand by and see me degraded among my own soldiers! Well, time will teach you--that I fully believe--to pay whatever seems to you right, and even without the lessons of that teacher you will hardly care to see whose who have spent themselves in benefiting you, become your accusers. Only, when you do pay your debt, I beg of you to use your best endeavour to right me with the soldiers. Leave me at least where you found me; that is all I ask."