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persuade him to put himself forward and undertake public business, as being very capable of it. The whole is taken from Xenophon's Memorable Things of Socrates, lib. 3.
A certain man, whose name was Glaucon, the son of Aristor., had so fixed it in his mind to go. vern the republic, that he frequently presented himself before the people to discourse of affairs of state, though all the world laughed at him for it; nor was it in the power of his relations or friends to dissuade him from that design. But Socrates had a kindness for him on account of Plato, his brother; and he only it was who made him change his resolution. He met him, and ac, costed him in so winning a manner, that he first obliged him to hearken to his discourse. He began with him thus : “ You have a mind, then, to go. vern the republic?” “I have so," answered Glaucon. “You cannot,” replied Socrates, “ have a more noble design : for if you can accomplish it, so as to become absolute, you will be able to serve your friends; you will raise your family; you will extend the bounds of your country; you will be known not only in Athens, but tlırough all Greece; and perhaps your renown will fly even to the barbarous nations, as did that of Themistocles. In short, wherever you come, you will have the respect and admiration of all the world.” These words soothed Glaucon, and won him to give ear to Sucrates, who went on this manner : “ But it is certain, that if you desire to be honoured, you must be useful to the state.” “ Certainly,” said Glaucon. “ And in the name of all the gods," replied Socrates, “ tell me what is the first service you intend to render the state.” Glaucon was considering what to answer, when Socrates con. tinued : “ If you design to make the fortune of one of your friends, you will endeavour to make hiin rich; and thus, perhaps, you will make it your business to enrich the republic?" "I would," answered Glaucon. Socrates replied, “Would not the way to enrich the republic be to increase its revenue ?" “ It is very likely it would,” answered Glaucon. " Tell me, then, in what consists the revenue of the state, and to how much may it amoụnt? I presume you have particularly studied this matter, to the end that, if any thing should be lost on one hand, you might know where to make it good on another; and that if a fund should fail on a sudden, you might immediately be able to settle another in its place.” “I protest,” answered Glaucon, “ I have never thought of this.” “ Tell me, at least, the expenses of the republic; for no doubt you mean to retrench the superfluous.” “I have never thought of this either,” said Glaucon. " You were best, then, to put off to another time your design of enriching the republic, which you can nerer be able to do while you are ignorant both of its expenses and revenue." “ There is another way to enrich a state," said Glaucon, “ of which you take no notice; that is, by the ruin of its cnemies," “ You are in the right," answered Socrates; " but to this end it is necessary to be stronger than they, otherwise we shall run the hazard of losing what we have : he, therefore, who talks of undertaking a war, ought to know the strength on both sides; to the end that, if his party be the stronger, he may boldly advise for war; and if it be the weaker, he may dissuade the people from engaging
themselves in so dangerous an enterprise.” “ All this is true.” “Tell me then," continued Socrates, “ how strong our forces are by sea and land, and how strong are our enemies ?” “ Indeed," said Glaucon, “I cannot tell you on a sudden.” “ If you have a list of them in writing, pray show it me; I should be glad to hear it read.” “I have it not yet.” “I see then," said Socrates, “ that we shall not engage in war so soon; for the greatness of the undertaking will hinder you from maturely weighing all the consequences of it in the beginning of your government. But," continued he, “ you have thought of the defence of the country; you know what garrisons are necessary, and what are not; you know what number of troops is sufficient in one, and not sufficient in another ; you will cause the necessary garrisons to be reinforced, and disband those that are useless ?" “ I should be of opinion," said Glaucon, “ to leave none of them on foot, because they ruin a country on pretence of defending it." But Socrates ob jected, “ If all the garrisons were taken away, there would be nothing to hinder the first comer from carrying off what he pleased. But how come you to know that the garrisons behave themselves well? Have you been upon the place ? Have you seen them?” “Not at all : but I suspect it to be so." “When, therefore, we are certain of it,” said Socrates, “ and can speak upon better grounds than simple conjectures, we will propose this advice to the senate.” “It may be well to do so," said Glaucon. “ It comes into my mind too,” said Socrates, “ that you have never been at the mines of silver, to examine why they bring not in so much now as they did formerly.” “You say true : 1 have never been there.” “ Indeed, they say the place is very unhealthy, and that may excuse you." “ You rally me now,” said Glaucon. Socrates added, “ But I beliere you have at least observed how much corn our lands produce, how long it will serve to supply our city, and how much more we shall want for the whole year ; to the end you may not be surprised with a scarcity of bread, but may gire timely orders for the necessary provisions." “ There is a deal to do,” said Glaucon, “ if we must take care of all these things.” “ There is 80,” replied Socrates; “ and it is even impossible to manage our own families well, unless we know all that is wanting, and take care to provide it. As you see, therefore, that our city is composed of above ten thousand fainilies, and it being a difficult task to watch over them all at once, why did you not first try to relieve your uncle's affairs, which are running to decay? and, after having given that proof of your industry, you might have taken a greater trust upon you. But now, when you find yourself incapable of aiding a private man, how can you think of behaving yourself so as to be useful to a whole people ? Ought a man who has not strength to carry a hundred pound weight to undertake to carry a beavier burthen?” “I would have done good service to my uncle," said Glaucon, “ if he would have taken my advice.” “How," replied Socrates, “ have you not been able hitherto to govern the mind of your uncle ; and do you now be. lieve yourself able to govern the minds of all the Athenians, and his among the rest ? Take heed, my dear Glaucon, take heed, lest too great a desire of power should render you despised ; consider how dangerous it is to speak and entertain ourselves concerning things we do not understand : what a figure do those forward and rash people make in the world who do so! and judge yourself whether they acquire nuore esteem than blame, whether they are more admired than contenued. Think, on the contrary, with how much honour a man is regarded who understands perfectly what he says and what he does, and then you will confess that renown and applause hare always been the recoinpense of true merit ; and, if you enter upon the governinent of the republic with a mind more sagacious than usual, I shall not wonder if you suca ceed in all your designs." • Thus Socrates put a stop to the disorderly an). bition of this mau : but, on an occasion quite contrary, he in the following manner exhorted Charmidas to take an employment. He was a man of sense, and more deserving than most others in the same post; but, as he was of a modest disposition, he constantly declined, and made great dificulties of engaging himself in public business. Socrates therefore addressed himself to him in this manuer : “ If you knew any ihan that could gain the prizes in the public games, and by that means render himself illustrious, and acquire glory to his coun: try, what would you say of him if he refused to offer himself to the combat?” “I would say," auswered Charmidas, “ that he was a mean-spirited, effeminate fellow.” “ And if a man were ca. pable of governing a republic, of iucreasing its power by his advice, and or raising himself by this incans to a high degree of honour, would you not brand him likewise with a meauvess of soul, if he