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with indignation the proposals of Pausanias, and refused pe-remptorily to take any part in his schemes: but then he concealed what had passed between them, and did not discover the enterprise he had formed: whether it was that he imagined Pausanias would renounce it of himself, or was persuaded that it would be discovered some other way; it not being possible for so dangerous and ill-concerted an enterprise to be successful.
After Pausanias's death, several letters and other things were found among his papers, which raised a violent suspicion of Themistocles. The Lacedæmonians sent deputies to Athens to accuse and have sentence of death passed upon him; and such of the citizens who envied him, joined these accusers. Aristides had now a fair opportunity of reveng, ing himself on his rival, for the injurious treatment he had received from him, had his soul been capable of so cruel a satisfaction, but he refused absolutely to join in so horrid a combination ; being as little inclined to delight in the misfortunes of his adversary, as he had before been to regret his successes. Themistocles answered by letters all the calumnies with which he was charged ; and represented to the Athenians, that as he had ever been fond of ruling, and his temper being such as would not suffer him to be lorded over by others, it was highly improbable that he should have a design to deliver up himself, and all Greece, to enemies and Barbarians.
In the mean time the people, wrought upon by his accusers, sent some persons to seize him and bring him home, that he might be tried by the counsel of Greece. Themistocles. having timely notice of it went into the Island of Corcyra, Lo whose inhabitants he formerly had done some service: however, not thinking himself safe there, he fled to Epirus, and finding himself still pursued by the Athenians and Lacedæmonians, in despair he adopted a very dangerous plan, which was, to fly to Admetus king of the Molossians for refuge. This prince having formerly desired the aid of the Athenians, and being refused with ignominy by Themistocles, who at that time presided in the government, had retained the deepest resentment on that account, and declared that he would revenge himself, should a favourable opportunity ever
But Themistocles, imagining that in the unhappy situation of his affairs the recent envy of his fellow-citizens was more to be feared than the ancient grudge of that king, was resolved to run the hazard of it. Being come into the palace of that monarch, upon being informed that he was absent, he addressed himself to the queen, who received him very graciously, and instructed him in the manner in which it was proper for him to make his request. Admetus being
returned, Themistocles takes the king's son in his arms, seats himself on his hearth amidst his household gods, and there, telling him who he was, and the cause why he fled to him for refuge, he implores his clemency, owns that his life is in his hand, entreats him to forget the past; and represents to him, that no action can be more worthy a great king than to exercise clemency. Admetus, surprised and moved with. compassion in seeing at his feet, in so humble a posture, the greatest man of all Greece, and the conqueror of all Asia, raised him immediately from the ground, and promised to protect him against all his enemies. Accordingly, when the Athenians and Lacedæmonians came to demand him, he refused absolutely to deliver up a person who had taken refuge in his palace, in the firm persuasion that it would be a sacred and inviolable asylum.
Whilst he was at the court of this prince one of his friends found an opportunity to carry off his wife and children from Athens, and to send them to him; for which that person was some time after seized and condemned to die. With regard to Themistocles's effects, his friends secured the greatest part of them for him, which they afterwards found an opportunity to remit to him in his retirement ; but all that could be discovered, which amounted to 100 a talents, was carried to the public treasury: When he entered upon the administration of the republic he was not worth three talents. I shall leave this illustrious exile for some time in the court of king Admetus, to resume the sequel of this history.
Sect. XVII. Aristides's disinterested Administration of the public Treawas, to find a person capable of discharging faithfully an employment of such delicacy, and attended with such danger and difficulty, the due administration of which so nearly concerned the public welfare. All the allies cast their eyes on Aristides ; accordingly they invested him with full powers, and appointed him to levy a tax on each of them, relying entirely on his wisdom and justice.
sure. His Death and Eulogium. bI have before observed, that the command of Greece had passed from Sparta to the Athenians. Hitherto the cities and nations of Greece had indeed contributed some sums of money towards carrying on the expense of the war against the Barbarians; but this assessment had always occasioned great feuds, because it was not made in a just or equal proportion. It was thought proper, under this new government to lodge in the island of Delos the common treasure of Greece; to fix new regulations with regard to the public monies; and to lay such a tax as might be regulated according to the revenue of each city and state? in order that the expenses being equally borne by the several members who composed the body of the allies, no one might have reason to murmur. The business
a 100,000 crowns French, aboat l.22,800 sterling. b Plut. in Arist. p. 333, 334. Diod. ta xi. p. 36.
They had no cause to repent of their choice. «He presided over the treasury with the fidelity and disinterestedness of a man, who looks upon it as a capital crime to embezzle the smallest portion of another's possessions ; with the care and activity of a father of a family, who manages his own estate; and with the caution and integrity of a person, who considers the public monies as sacred. In fine, he succeeded in what is equally difficult and extraordinary, viz. in acquiring the love of all in an office, in which he that escapes the public odium gains a great point. Such is the glorious character which Seneca gives of a person charged with an employment of almost the same kind, and the noblest eulogium that can be given such as administer the public revenues. It is the exact picture of Aristides. He discovered so much probity and wisdom in the exercise of this office, that no man complained ; and those times were considered ever after as the golden age, that is, the period in which Greece had attained its highest pitch of virtue and happiness. And indeed, the tax which he had fixed, in the whole, to 460 talents, was raised, by Pericles to 600, and soon after to 1,300 talents : it was not that the expenses of the war were increased, but the treasure was employed to very useless purposes, in manual distributions to the Athenians, in solemnizing of games and festivals, in building of temples and public edifices; not to mention, that the hands of those who superintended the treasury were not always so clean and uncorrupt as those of Aristides. This wise and equitable conduct secured him, to the latest posterity, the glorious surname of “the Just."
Nevertheless, Plutarch relates an action of Aristides, which shows that the Greeks (and the same may be said of the Romans) had a very narrow and imperfect idea of justice. They confined the exercise of it to the interior, as it were, of civil society; and acknowledged that the individuals were bound to observe strictly its several maxinis in their intercourse with each other : but with regard to their country,
a Tu quidem orbis terrarum rationes administras ; tam abstinenter quam alienas, tam diligenter quam tuas. tam religiose quam publicas In officio Ainorem consequeris, in quo odium vitare difficile est Senec. lib. de Brevit. Vit. cap xviij. * The calent is worth 1,000 French sowos; or aboat 1.725, sterling.
to the republic, (their great idol to which they referred every thing) they thought in a quite different manner ; and imagined themselves obliged to sacrifice to it, through principle, not only their lives and possessions, but even their religion and the most sacred engagements, in contempt of the most solemn oaths. This will appear evidently in what I am now going to relate.
a After the regulation of the contributions, of which I have just spoken, Aristides having settled the several articles of the alliance, made the confederates take an oath to observe them punctually, and he himself swore in the name of the Athenians; and when denouncing the curses which always accompanied the oaths, he threw into the sea, pursuant to the usual custom, large bars of red-hot iron. But the ill state of the Athenian affairs forcing them afterwards to infringe some of those articles, and to govern a little more arbitrarily, he entreated them to transfer those curses on him, and exonerate themselves thereby of the punishment due to such as had foresworn themselves, and who had been reduced to it by the unhappy situation of their affairs. Theophrastus tells us, that in general (these words are borrowed from Plutarch) Aristides, who, in all matters relating to himself or the public, prided himself upon displaying the most impartial and rigorous justice, used to act, during his administration, in several instances, according as the exigency of affairs, and the welfare of his country might require; it being his opinion, that a government, in order to support itself, is, on some occasions, obliged to have recourse to injustice, of which he gives the following example. One day, as the Athenians were debating in their council, about bringing to their city, in opposition to the articles of the treaty, the common treasures of Greece which were deposited in Delos : the Samians having opened the debate; when it was Aristides's turn to speak, he said, that the removal of the treasure was an unjust action, but useful, and made this opinion take place. The incident shows, that the pretended wisdom of the heathens was overspread with great obscurity and
It was scarce possible to have a greater contempt for riches than Aristides had. Themistocles, who was not pleased with the encomiums bestowed on other men, hearing Aristides applauded for the noble disinterestedness with which he managed the public treasures, did but laugh at it ; and said, that the praises bestowed upon him for it, showed that he possessed no greater merit or virtue than that of a strong. chest, which faithfully preserves all the monies that are shut
a Plut, in Arist. p, 333, 334.
up in it, without retaining any; This low sneer was by way of revenge for a stroke of raillery that had stung him to the quick. Themistocles saying, that, in his opinion, the greatest talent a general could possess, was to be able to foresee the designs of an enemy : ** This talent,” replied Aristides, “is
necessary; but there is another no less noble and worthy “ of a general, that is, to have clean hands, and a soul supe“rior to venality and views of interest." Aristides might very justly answer Themistocles in this manner, since he was really very poor, though he had possessed the highest employments in the state. He seemed to have an innate love for poverty; and so far from being ashamed of it, he thought it reflected as much glory on him, as all the trophies and victories he had won. History gives us a shining instance of this.
Callias, who was a near relation of Aristides, and the most wealthy citizen in Athens, was cited to appear before the judges. The accuser, laying very little stress on the cause itself, reproached him especially with permitting Aristides, his wife and children, to live in poverty, at a time when he himself rolled in riches. Callias, perceiving that these reproaches made a strong impression on the judges, summoned Aristides to declare before them, whether he had not often pressed him to accept of large sums of money; and whether he had not obstinately refused to accept of his offer, with saying, that he had more reason to boast of his poverty, than Callias of his riches; that many persons were to be found who made a good use of their wealth, but that there were few who bore their poverty with magnanimity and even with joy; and that none had cause to blush at their condition, but such as had reduced themselves to it by their idleness, their intemperance, their profusion, or dissolute conduct. a Aristides declared, that his kinsman had told nothing but the truth; and added, that a man whose frame of mind is such,
to suppress every wish for superfluities, and who confines the wants of life within the narrowest limits; besides its freeing him from a thousand importunate cares, and leaving him so much master of his time, as to devote it entirely to the public; it approximates him, in some measure, to the Deity, who is wholly void of cares or wants. There was no man in the assembly, but, at his leaving it, would have chosen to be Aristides, though so poor, rather than Callias with all his riches.
Plutarch gives us, in a few words, Plato's glorious testimony to Aristides's virtue, for which he looks upon him as infinitely superior to all the illustrious men who were his con
a Plat in compar. Arist. & Platon, p. 355.