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That this is a serious truth, let me offer something to convince you. There was a man (it grieves me to dwell so often on the misfortunes of the state) of a private station, who, for the bare attempt of making a voyage to Samos, was, as a traitor to his country, put instantly to death by the council of Areopagus. Another private man, whose timid spirit, unable to support the general consternation, had driven him to Rhodes, was not long since impeached, and escaped only by the equality of voices: had but one vote more been given for his condemnation, banishment or death must have been his fate. To these let us oppose the case now before us. A popular orator, the cause of all our calamities, is found guilty of desertion in the field. This man claims a crown, and asserts his right to the honour of a proclamation. And shall not this wretch, the common pest of Greece, be driven from our borders? Or shall we not seize and drag to execution this public plunderer, whose harangues enable him to steer his pyratical course through our government? Think on this critical season, in which you are to give your voices. In a few days, the Pythian games are to be celebrated, and the convention of Grecian states to be collected. There shall our state be severely censured, on account of the late measures of Demosthenes. Should you crown him, you must be deemed accessaries to those who violated the general peace. If, on the contrary, you reject the demand, you will clear the state from all imputation. Weigh this clause maturely, as the interest not of a foreign state, but of your own: And do not lavish your honours inconsiderately: confer them with a scrupulous delicacy; and let them be the distinctions of exalted worth and merit. Nor be contented to hear, but look round you, where your own interest is so intimately concerned, and see who are the men that support Demosthenes. Are they his former companions in the chace, his associates in the manly exercises of his youth? No, by the Olympian God; he never was employed in rousing the wild boar, or in any such exercises as render the body vigorous: he was solely engaged in the sordid arts of fraud and circumvention.
And, let not his arrogance escape your attention, when he tells you, that, by his embassy, he wrested Byzantium from
the hands of Philip; that his eloquence prevailed on the Acarnanians to revolt; his eloquence transported the souls of the Thebans. He thinks that you are sunk to such a degree of weakness, that he may prevail on you to believe that you harbour the very genius of persuasion in your city, and not a vile sycophant. And, when, at the conclusion of his defence, he calls up his accomplices in corruption as his advocates, then imagine that we see the great benefactors of your country, in this place from whence I speak, arrayed against the villainy of those men: Solon, the man who adorned our free constitution with the noblest laws, the philosopher, the renowned legislator, intreating you, with that decent gravity which distinguished his character, by no means to pay a greater regard to the speeches of Demosthenes, than to your oaths and laws: Aristides, who was suffered to prescribe to the Greeks their several subsidies, whose daughters received their portions from the people, at his decease; roused to indignation at this insult on public justice, and asking, whether you are not ashamed that, when your fathers banished Arthmius the Zelian, who brought in gold from Persia;' when they were scarcely restrained from killing a man connected with the people in the most sacred ties, and, by public proclamation, forbad him to appear in Athens, or in any part of the Athenian territory,– yet you are going to crown Demosthenes with a golden crown, who did not bring in gold from Persia, but received bribes himself, and still possesses them. And, can you imagine but that Themistocles, and those who fell at Marathon, and those who died at Phatæa, and the very sepulchres of our nacestors must groan, if you confer a crown on this man, who confessedly united with the barbarians against the Greeks?
And, now, bear witness for me, Thou Earth, Thou Sun, O Virtue and Intelligence, and thou, O Erudition, which teach1 Arthmius was an agent of the Persian king Artaxerxes Longimanus, to stir up strife in Sparta against Athens. Themistocles procured the following terrible decree against him; which was inscribed on a brazen column: “LET ARTHMIUS OF ZELIA, THE SON OF PYTHONAX, BE ACCOUNTED INFAMOUS, AND AN ENEMY TO THE ATHENIANS AND THEIR ALLIES, BOTH HE AND ALL HIS RACE, BECAUSE HE BROUGHT GOLD FROM MEDIA INTO PELOPONNESUS."
est us the just distinction between vice and goodness, I have stood up, I have spoken in the cause of justice. If I have supported my prosecution with a dignity befitting its importance, I have spoken as my wishes dictated; if too deficiently,―as my abilities admitted. Let what hath now been offered, and what your own thoughts must supply, be duly weighed, and pronounce such a sentence as justice and the interests of the state demand.
THE ORATION OF DEMOSTHENES
ON THE CROWN In the first place, ye men of Athens, I make my prayer to all the powers of heaven, that such affection as I have ever invariably discovered to this state, and all its citizens, YOU now may entertain for me, upon this present trial. And, (what concerns you nearly, what essentially concerns your religion and your honour,)—that the gods may so dispose your minds, as to permit me to proceed in my defence, not as directed by my adversary, (that would be severe indeed!) but by the laws, and by your oath, in which, to all the other equitable clauses, we find this expressly added—EACH PARTY SHALL HAVE EQUAL AUDIENCE. This imports not merely, that you shall not prejudge, not merely that the same impartiality shall be shewn to both; but still further, that the contending parties shall each be left at full liberty to arrange, and to conduct his pleading, as his choice or judgment may determine.
In many instances hath ÆSCHINES the entire advantage in this cause. Two there are of more especial moment. First, as to our interests in the contest, we are on terms utterly unequal; for they are by no means points of equal import, for me to be deprived of your affections, and for him to be defeated 1 This is a liberty the orator hath accordingly assumed, and most artfully and happily. Under the pretence of guarding against all prepossessions, he first enters into a full detail of public affairs, and sets his own services in the fairest point of view. Having thus gained the hearts of his hearers, then he ventures on the points of law relative to his accounts, &c. And these he soon dismisses with an affected contempt of his adversary, and a perfect confidence in the merits of his own cause. Then come his objections to the character of the prosecutor, which naturally led him round again to the history of his own administration, the point on which he chiefly relied; and where he had the finest occasions of displaying his own merits, and of loading Æschines and his adherents with the heaviest imputations, as traitors to the state, and malicious enemies to those who were distinguished by zeal in support of her rights and dignity. in his prosecution. As to me—but, when I am entering on my defence, let me suppress every thing ominous, sensible as I must be of this the advantage of my adversary.-In the next place, such is the natural disposition of mankind, that invective and accusation are heard with pleasure, while they who speak their own praises are received with impatience. His then, is the part which commands a favourable acceptance; that which must prove offensive to every single hearer is reserved for me. If, to guard against this disadvantage, I should decline all mention of my own actions, I know not by what means I could refute the charge, or establish my pretensions to this honour. If, on the other hand, I enter into a detail of my whole conduct, private and political, I must be obliged to speak perpetually of myself. Here, then, I shall endeavour to preserve all possible moderation; and, what the circumstances of the case necessarily extort from me must, in justice, be imputed to him who first moved a prosecution so extraordinary.
I presume, ye judges, ye will all acknowledge, that in this cause Ctesiphon and I are equally concerned; that it calls for my attention no less than his. For, in every case, it is grievous and severe to be deprived of our advantages; and especially when they are wrested from us by an enemy. But to be deprived of your favour and affections, is a misfortune the most severe, as these are advantages the most important. And if such be the object of the present contest, I hope, and it is my general request to this tribunal, that, while I endeavour to defend myself fairly and equitably, against this charge, ye
ill hear me as the laws direct, those laws, which their first author, SOLON, the man so tender of our interests, so true a friend to liberty, secured, not by enacting only, but by the additional provision of that oath imposed on you, ye judges, not, as I conceive, from any suspicion of your integrity, but from a clear conviction, that, as the prosecutor, who is first to speak, hath the advantage of loading his adversary with invectives and calumnies, the defendant could not possibly prevail against them, unless each of you, who are to pronounce sentence, should, with a reverend attention to that duty which you owe to heaven, favourably admit the just defence of him who is