« AnteriorContinuar »
you will be capable of giving him more trouble and “ opposition than all the rest of the Greeks united, “ whenever you shall think fit to lay hold of any oc“casion to throw off the yoke. It must then be laid “ down as a certain maxim, that our whole fortune is
at stake, and that you cannot too much abhor the
mercenaries who have sold themselves to this man; “ for it is not possible, no, it is not, to vanquish your
foreign enemies, till you have chastised your domes“ tic foes, who are his pensioners; so that, whilst you “ will bulge against those as against so many rocks,
you will never attempt to act against the other, till " it be too late.”
FROM THE THIRD PHILIPPIC.
“ Make this reflection, I bescech you; you think “the privilege of saying any thing is so inherent in
every man who breathes the air of Athens, that you “ suffer foreigners and slaves to deliver their thoughts
on every subject; insomuch that servants are here
indulged a greater · liberty in that particular, than “ citizens in some other commonwealths. It is from “ the rostra only, that the freedom of speech is de“nied. Hence it is that you are grown so unaccount
ably haughty in your assemblies, and so difficult to “ be pleased. You would always be flattered in them, " and hear nothing but what soothes you: and it is “ this pride and delicacy that have brought you to the " brink of destruction. If then you remain still in " the same disposition, I have nothing to do but to be “ silent. But, if you can prevail with yourselves to “ listen to what is for your advantage, without fiat“ tery, I am ready to speak. For, notwithstanding " the deplorable condition of our affairs, and the seve“ral losses we have sustained thro' our neglect, they
may yet be retrieved, provided you determine to " act as you ought in duty.
“ You know, that whatever the Greeks suffered “ from the Lacedæmonians, or from us, they suffered
by those who were Greeks as well as themselves;
so that we may compare our faults to those of a son, “who, being born in a rich family, should err against
some maxim of good economy. Such a son would "justly deserve the reproachfulname of'a squanderer; “but it could not be justly asserted, that he had seized
upon another man's right, or that he was not the “ lawful heir. But if a slave, or a supposititious child, “ would seize an estate he had no manner of title to, "just heavens! would not such an enormity raise the "whole world against him ? and would they not cry
out with one voice, that it deserved exemplary pu“nishment? But we do not consider Philip, and his
present conduct, in that light. Philip, who, be"sides his not being a Greek, is no ways allied to
the Greeks by any kind of relation, and is not dis" tinguished even amongst the barbarians by any
thing but his being denominated from the contemp" tible place whence he comes; and being a wretched "Macedonian by his birth, came into the world in a corner whence we never buy even a good slave.
Notwithstanding this, does he not treat you with " the utmost indignity? Is it not arrived at its highest pitch? Not content,” &c.
The Ertracts which follow, being taken from the orations of Æschines and Demosthenes de Corona, it will be necessary to give the reader soine idea of the subject. This Cicero informs us of in his preamble to those two orations, when he translated them; and this is the only fragment now remaining of that excellent work.
Demosthenes was entrusted with the care of repairing the walls of Athens, which he accomplished with great honour and reputation, having contributed a great deal of his own fortune towards it. Ctesiphon decreed a crown of gold to him on that account; proposed it should be presented in the open theatre, in a general assembly of the people; and that the herald should proclaim it was to reward the zeal and probity of that orator. Eschines accused Ctesiphon, as hav
ing violated the laws by that decree “[u] So “extraordinary a contest raised the curiosity of all “Greece: people ran from all parts, and with rea
son too. What finer sight than to see tuo orators " contending, each excelling in his own way; form
ed by nature, made perfect by art, and besides “animated with a personal enmity to each other.”
EXTRACTS OF ÆSCHINES'S HARANGUE.
Aschines, after having represented, in the beginning of the exordium, the irregularities introduced in the commonwealth, and their pernicious tendency, proceeds thus.
“ In such a situation of affairs, and in such disor
ders, of which you yourselves are sensible ; the “ only method of saving the wrecks of the govern
ment, is, if I mistake not, to allow full liberty to “accuse those who have invaded your laws. But, if
you shut thein up, or suffer others to do this, I pro“phesy that you will fall insensibly, and that very “ soon, under a tyrannical power. For
you “ Athenians, that government is divided into three “ kinds ; Monarchy, Oligarchy, and Democracy. “ As to the two former, they are governed at the “ will and pleasure of those who reign in either ; “ whereas established laws only reign in a popular " state. That none of you therefore may be igno“ rant, but, on the contrary, that every one may
be entirely assured, that the day he ascends the seat of "justice, to examine an accusation upon the invasion " of the laws, that very day he goes to give judg“ment upon his own independence. ... And indeed, “ the legislature, who is convinced, that a free state “ can support itself no longer than the laws govern, “ takes particular care to prescribe this form of an - oath to judges, I will judge according to the laws.
[u] Ad hoc judicium concursus morum oratorum, in gravissima dicitur è totâ Greciâ factus esse. causâ, accurata & inimicitiis incenQuid eniin aut tam visendum, aut sa contentio? Cic. de opt. gen. law audiendum fuit, quam sum- Orat, n. 22.
" The remembrance therefore of this, being deeply ' implanted in your minds, must inspire you with a " just abhorrence of any persons whatsoever, who “ dare transgress them by rash decrees; and that, far " from ever looking upon a transgression of this kind
as a small fault, you always consider it as an enor"mous and capital crime. . . Do not suffer then, any "one to make you depart from so wise a principle.
But as, in the army, every one of you would be “ashamed to quit the post assigned him by the general 1; so let every one of you be this day ashamed
to abandon the post which the laws have given you " in the commonwealth. What post? that of pro“tectors of the government.”
This comparison, which is very beautiful and noble in itself, has a peculiar grace in this place, presenting, as it were, two faces to us; for at the same time that it affects the judges, it reflects strongly on Demosthenes's cowardice, against whom it points a satirical stroke, which is the more delicate and malicious, the more remote it seems to be from all affectation. It is well known, that he had abandoned his post and fled at the battle of Chæronca. This judicious observation was made by M. Tourreil,
“ Must we, in your person (addressing himself to Demosthenes) crown the author of the public cala"mities, or must we destroy him? And indeed, what
unexpected revolutions, what unthought-of catas"trophes, have we not seen in our days:--The king
of Persia, that king who opened a passage through mount Athos; who bound the Hellespont in chains;
who was so imperious as to command the Greeks "to acknowledge him sovereign both of sea and
land; who in his letters and dispatches presumed " to style himself the sovereign of the world from the
rising to the setting of the sun; and who fights now, not to rule over the rest of mankind, but to save his own life; do we not see those very men,
who signalized their zeul in the relief of Delphos, $ invested both with the glory, for which that power
“ ful king was once so conspicuous, and with the " title of chief of the Greeks, against him? As to “ Thebes, which borders upon Attica, have we not
seen it disappear in one day from the midst of “ Greece? ... And, with regard to the unhappy
Lacedæmonians, what calamities have not befallen
them only for taking but a small part of the spoils “ of the temple? They who formerly assumed a su“periority over Greece, are they not now going to “ send ambassadors to Alexander's court, to bear the
name of hostages in his train ; to become a specta"cle of misery; to bow the knee before the monarch, " submit themselves and their country to his mercy; " and receive such laws as a conqueror, a conqueror
they attacked first, shall think fit to prescribe them? “ Athens itself, the common refuge of the Greeks; " Athens formerly peopled with ambassadors, who “ flocked to claim its miglity protection ; is not this
city now obliged to fight, not to obtain a superio
rity over the Greeks, but to preserve itself from de“ struction ? Such are the misfortunes which Demos“thencs has brought upon us, since his intermeddling " with the administration,
“ But you, who of all men are the most unfit to " signalize yourselves by great and memorable actions, " and at the same time the fittest to distinguish your“selves by rash speeches; dare you, and that in the
presence of this august assembly, assert, that we must “ bestow a crown, at your intercession, on the person “who has occasioned all the public calamities? And “ if this man shall presume so far, will you suffer it, “ gentlemen, and shall the memory of those great
inen who died in the field for their country, die “ with them? I beg you, for a few moments, to con
vey yourselves in imagination from the rostrum to “ the theatre, and imagine you see the herald ad" yancing, and proclaiming the crown decreed to ” Demosthenes. On which occasion do you think, " that the relations of those citizens, who spilt their "blood for you, ought to shed most tears; either for