Black Sheep wrote:
With respect, I disagree.
* "Large enough" means "Your fines are large enough to make you feel some pain from your mis-deeds."
* "Small enough" refers to the fact that the steeper the penalty, the more the temptation to try to get out of it by rebelling. It's a cost-benefit decision: if the penalty is too steep, the benefits gained (the Esspies get some of the benefit of the sale of the "shovels") no longer outweigh the costs (Murtaugh's "cut"). With a less steep penalty, the costs of a rebellion (military expense and the risks of possible failure) outweigh the benefits (a relatively merciful settlement).
That depends on if you're talking about fines or profits.
If they're talking fines, then your reading is correct, but I read it as applying to profits, in which case it's backwards.
*nods* Whereas I read large and small in relation to Murtaugh's "cut"--basically, a fine or penalty taken from what they could have made from the sale of shovels.