Imatges de pÓgina
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think fit to prescribe them? Athens itself, the common refuge of the Greeks; Athens, formerly peopled with ambassadors, who flocked to claim its almighty protection, is not this city now obliged to fight, not to obtain a superiority over the Greeks, but to preserve itself from destruction? Such are the misfortunes which Demosthe. nes has brought upon us, since his intermeddling with the administration.

Imagine then, Athenians, when he shall invite the con. fidents and accomplices of his abject perfidy to range themselves around him, towards the close of his harangue; imagine then, Athenians, on your side, that you see the ancient benefactors of this commonwealth drawn up in battle array, round this rostrum where I ám now speaking, in order to repulse that audacious band. Imagine you hear Solon, who strengthened the popular government by such excellent laws; that philosopher, that incomparable legislator, conjuring you with a gentleness and modesty becoming his character, not to set a higher value upon Demosthenes's oratorial flourishes than upon your oaths and your laws. Imagine you bear Aristides, who made so exact and just a division of the contributions imposed upon the Grecks for the common cause; that sage dispenser, who left no other inheritance to his daughters, but the public gratitude, which was their portion; imagine, I say, you hear bim bitterly be. wailing the outrageous manner in which we trample upon justice, and speaking to you in these words. What! because Arthmius of Zelia, that. Asiatic, who passed through Athens, where he even enjoyed the rights of hospitality, had brought gold from the Medes into Greece; your ancestors were going to send him to the place of execution, and banished him, not only from their city, but from all the countries dependent on them; and will not you blush to decree Demosthenes, who has not, indeed, brought gold from the Medes, but has re. ceived such sums of money from all parts to betray you, and now enjoys the fruit of his treasures; will not you, I blush to decree a crown of gold to Demosthenes? Do you think that Themistocles, and the heroes wḥo were killed in the battles : of Marathon and Platea, do you think the very tombs of your ancestors will not send forth groans, if you crown a man who, by his own confession, has been for ever conspiring with barbarians to ruin Greece ?

say,

As to myself, O earth! O sun ! O virtue! and you, who are the springs of true discernment, lights both natural and acquired, by which we distinguish good from evil, I call you to witness, that I have used all my endeavours to relieve the state, and to plead her cause. I could have wished my speech had been equal to the greatness and importance of the subject; at least, I can flatter myself with having discharged my duty, according to my abilities, if I have not done it according to my wishes. Do you, Athenians, from the reasons you have heard, and those which your wisdom will suggest, do you pronounce such a judgment, as is conformable to strict justice, and the common good demands from you,

XXVII.

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 cquitable clauses, we find this expressly added each party shall have equal audience."--This imports not merely that you shall not pre-judge, not merely that the same impartiality shall be shewn to both; but still farther, 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 interest 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 in his prosecution. As to me--but,

#hen I am entering on my defence, let me suppress-every thing ominous, sensible as I must be of this the advan. tage of my adversary.-In the next place, such is the natural disposition of mankind, that invective and accu. sation 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 thearer is reserved for me. If, to guard against this dis. advantage, I should decline all mention of my own actions, I know not by what means I could refute the charge, or establish my pretentions 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..

But, sin he hath insisted so much upon the event, I will hazard a bold assertion. But, in the name of hea. ven! let it not be deemed extravagant: let it be weighed with candour. I say, then, that had we all known what fortune was to attend our efforts; had we all foreseen the final issue; had you foretold it, Æschines; had you bellowed out your terrible denunciations; (you whose Foice was never heard ;) yet even in such a case, must this city have pursued the very same conduct, if she had retained a thought of glory, of her ancestors, or of fu. ture times. For, thus, she could only have been deemed unfortunate in her attempts; and misfortunes are the lat of all men, whenever it may please heaven to indict them. But if that state which once claimed the first rank in Greece, had resigned this rank in time of danger, she had incurred the censure of betraying the whole nation to the enemy. What part of Greece, what part of the barbarian world has not heard, that the Thebans in their period of suceess, that the Lacedæmonians, whose power was older and more extensive, that the king of Persia, would have cheerfully and joyfully consented that this state should enjoy her own dominions, together with an accession of territory ample as his wishes, upon this condition, that she should rageire law, and suffer anle

nown.

ther state to preside in Greece? But, to Athenians, this was a condition unbecoming their descent, intole. rable to their spirit, repugnant to their nature. Athens never was once known to live in a slavish, though a se. cure obedienree to unjust and arbitrary power. No: our whole history is one series of noble contests for preeminence; the whole period of our existence hath been spent in braving dangers, for the sake of glory and re

And so highly do you esteem such conduet, so consonant to the Athenian character, that those of your ancestors who were most distinguished in the pursuit of it, are ever the most favourite objects of your praise: And with reason.': For who can reflect without astonish. . ment upon the magnanimity of those men, who resigned their lands, gave up their city, and embarked in their ships, to avoid the odious state of subjection? Who chose Themistocles, the adviser of this conduct, to com: mand their forces; and, when Chrysylus proposed, that they should yield to the terms prescribed, stoned him to death? Nay, the public indignation was not yet allayed Your very wives inflicted the same vengeance on his wife. For the Athenians of that day looked out for no speaker, no general to procure them a state of prosperous slavery. They had the spirit to reject even life, unless they were allowed to enjoy that life in freedom. Should I then attempt'to assert; that it was I who inspired you with sentiments worthy of your ancestors, I should meet the just resentment of every hearer. No, it is my point to shew, that such sentiments are properly your own; that they were the sentiments of my country, long before my days. I claim but my share of merit, in having acted on such principles in every part of

my

administration. He then who condemns every part of my administration, the who-directs you to treat me with severity, as one who hath involved the state in terrors and dangers, while he labours to deprive me of present honour, robs you of the applause of all posterity. For if you now pronounce, that, as my public conduct hath not been right, Ctesiphon must stand condemned, it must be thought that you yourselves have acted wrong, not that you owe your present state to the caprice of fortune. But it cannot be! No, my countrymen! it cannot be you have-acted-wrong, in encountering danger bravely, for

the liberty and the safety of all Greece. No! by those generous souls of ancient times, who were exposed at Marathon! By those who stood arrayed at Platæa! By those who encountered the Persian fleet at Salamis, who fought at Artemisium! By all those illustrious sons of Athens, whose remains lie deposited in the public monuments! All of whom received the same honourable interment from their country; not those only who prevailed, not those only who were victorious And with reason. What was the part of gallant men, they all performed: their success was sach as the supreme director of the world dispensed to each.

As to those public works so much the object of your ridicule, they undoubtedly demand a due share of honour and applause; but I rate them far beneath the great merits of my administration. It is not with stones nor bricks that I have fortified the city. It is not from works like these that I derive my-reputation. Would you know my methods of fortifying ? Examine, and you will find them, in the arms, the towns, the territories, the harbours I have secured, the navies, the troops, the ar. mies I have raised. These are the works by which I defended Attica, as far as human foresight could defend it: these are the fortifications I drew round our whole territory, and not the circuit of our harbour, or of our city only. In these acts of policy, in these provisions

I never yielded to Philip. No; it was our generals and our confederate forces who yielded to fore tune. Would you know the proofs of this?'. They are plain and evident. Consider: what was the part of a faithful citizen? of a prudent, an active, and an honest minister? Was he not to secure Eubea, as our defence against all attacks by sea ? Was he not to make Beotia, our barrier on the mid-land side? The cities bordering on Peloponnesus our bulwark, on that quarter? Was he not to attend with due precaution to the importation of corn, that this trade might be protected, through all its progress, up to our own harbour? Was he not to cover those districts which we commanded by seasonable de. tachments, as the Proconesus, the Chersonesus, and Te. Dedos ? To exert himself in the assembly for this pur. pose?' While with equal zeal he laboured to gain others to our interest and alliance, as Byzantium, Abydus, and

for a war,

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