The Oration of Aeschines against Ctesiphon



YOU see, Athenians! what forces are prepared, what numbers formed
and arrayed, what soliciting through the assembly, by a certain party:
and all this to oppose the fair and ordinary course of justice in
the state. As to me, I stand here in firm reliance, first on the
immortal gods, next on the laws and you, convinced that faction
never can have greater weight with you than law and justice.

It were to be wished, indeed, that the presidents of our Senate
and of our popular assembly would attend with due care to the order of
their debates; that the laws ordained by Solon to secure the decency
of public speaking might still preserve their force; that so our elder
citizens might first arise in due and decent form (as these laws
direct), without tumult or confusion, and each declare in order the
salutary counsels of his sage experience; that, after these, our other
citizens who chose to speak might severally, and in order, according
to their ages, propose their sentiments on every subject. Thus, in
my opinion, would the course of government be more exactly
regulated, and thus would our assemblies be less frequently engaged in
trials. But now, when these institutions, so confessedly excellent,
have lost their force; when men propose illegal resolutions without
reserve or scruple; when others are found to put them to the vote, not
regularly chosen to preside in our assemblies, but men who have raised
themselves to this dignity by intrigue; when if any of the other
senators on whom the lot of presidency hath fairly fallen should
discharge his office faithfully, and report your voices truly, there
are men who threaten to impeach him, men who invade our rights, and
regard the administration as their private property; who have
secured their vassals, and raised themselves to sovereignty; who
have suppressed such judicial procedures as are founded on established
laws, and in the decision of those appointed by temporary decrees
consult their passions; now, I say, that most sage and virtuous
proclamation is no longer heard, “Who is disposed to speak of those
above fifty years old?” and then, “Who of the other citizens in
their turns?” Nor is the indecent license of our speakers any longer
restrained by our laws, by our magistrates; *(1) no, nor by the
presiding tribe which contains a full tenth part of the community.

If such be our situation, such the present circumstances of the
state, and of this you seem convinced, one part alone of our polity
remains (as far as I may presume to judge)- prosecutions *(2) of those
who violate the laws. Should you suppress these- should you permit
them to be suppressed- I freely pronounce your fate; that your
government must be gradually and imperceptibly given up to the power
of a few. You are not to be informed, Athenians, that there are
three different modes of government established in the world; the
monarchical, the government of the few, and the free republic. In
the two former the administration is directed by the pleasure of the
ruling powers; in free states it is regulated by established laws.
It is then a truth, of which none shall be ignorant, which every man
should impress deeply on his mind, that when he enters the tribunal to
decide a case of violation of the laws, he that day gives sentence
on his own liberties. Wisely therefore hath our legislator
prescribed this as the first clause in the oath of every judge; “I
will give my voice agreeably to the laws;” well knowing that when
the laws are preserved sacred in every state the freedom of their
constitution is most effectually secured. Let these things be ever
kept in memory, that your indignation may be kindled against all those
whose decrees have been illegal. Let not any of their offences be
deemed of little moment, but all of the greatest importance; nor
suffer your rights to be wrested from you by any power; neither by the
combinations of your generals, who, by conspiring with our public
speakers, have frequently involved the state in danger; nor by the
solicitations of foreigners, who have been brought up to screen some
men from justice, whose administration hath been notoriously
illegal. But as each man *(3) among you would be ashamed to desert
from his post in battle, so think it shameful to abandon the post this
day assigned to you by the laws, that of guardians of the

Let it also be remembered that the whole body of our citizens hath
now committed their state, their liberties, into your hands. Some of
them are present waiting the event of this trial; others are called
away to attend on their private affairs. Show the due reverence to
these; remember your oaths and your laws; and if we convict
Ctesiphon of having proposed decrees, illegal, false, and
detrimental to the state, reverse these illegal decrees, assert the
freedom of your constitution, and punish those who have administered
your affairs in opposition to your laws, in contempt of your
constitution, and in total disregard of your interest. If, with
these sentiments impressed on your minds, you attend to what is now to
be proposed, you must, I am convinced, proceed to a decision just
and religious, a decision of the utmost advantage to yourselves and to
the state.

As to the general nature of this prosecution, thus far have I
premised, and, I trust, without offence. Let me now request your
attention to a few words about the laws relative to persons
accountable to the public, which have been violated by the decree
proposed by Ctesiphon.

In former times there were found magistrates of the most
distinguished rank, and intrusted with the management of our revenues,
who in their several stations were guilty of the basest corruption,
but who, by forming an interest with the speakers in the Senate and in
the popular assembly, anticipated their accounts by public honors
and declarations of applause. Thus, when their conduct came to a
formal examination, their accusers were involved in great
perplexity, their judges in still greater; for many of the persons
thus subject to examination, though convicted on the clearest evidence
of having defrauded the public, were yet suffered to escape from
justice; and no wonder. The judges were ashamed that the same man,
in the same city, possibly in the same year, should be publicly
honored in our festivals, that proclamation should be made “that the
people had conferred a golden crown on him on account of his integrity
and virtue”; that the same man, I say, in a short time after, when his
conduct had been brought to an examination, should depart from the
tribunal condemned of fraud. In their sentence, therefore, the
judges were necessarily obliged to attend, not to the nature of
those offences, but to the reputation of the state.

Some of our magistrates, *(4) observing this, framed a law (and
its excellence is undeniable) expressly forbidding any man to be
honored with a crown whose conduct had not yet been submitted to the
legal examination. But notwithstanding all the precaution of the
framers of this law, pretences were still found of force sufficient to
defeat its intention. Of these you are to be informed, lest you should
be unwarily betrayed into error, some of those who, in defiance of the
laws, have moved that men who yet stood accountable for their
conduct should be crowned are still influenced by some degree of
decency (if this can with propriety be said of men who propose
resolutions directly subversive of the laws); they still seek to
cast a kind of veil on their shame. Hence are they sometimes careful
to express their resolutions in this manner: “That the man whose
conduct is not yet submitted to examination shall be honored with a
crown when his accounts have first been examined and approved.” But
this is no less injurious to the state; for by these crowns and public
honors is his conduct prejudged and his examination anticipated, while
the author of such resolutions demonstrates to his hearers that his
proposal is a violation of the laws, and that he is ashamed of his
offence. But Ctesiphon, my countrymen, hath at once broken through the
laws relative to the examination of our magistrates; he hath scorned
to recur to that subterfuge now explained: he hath moved you to confer
a crown on Demosthenes previously to any examination of his conduct,
at the very time while he was yet employed in the discharge of his

But there is another evasion of a different kind to which they are
to recur. These offices, say they, to which a citizen is elected by an
occasional decree, are by no means to be accounted magistracies, but
commissions or agencies. Those alone are magistrates whom the proper
officers *(5) appoint by lot in the temple of Theseus, or the people
elect by suffrage in their ordinary assemblies, such as generals of
the army, commanders of the cavalry, and such like; all others are but
commissioners who are but to execute a particular decree. To this
their plea I shall oppose your own law- a law enacted from a firm
conviction that it must at once put an end to all such evasions. In
this it is expressly declared, that all offices whatever appointed
by the voices of the people shall be accounted magistracies. In one
general term the author of this law hath included all. All hath he
declared “magistrates whom the votes of the assembly have
appointed,” and particularly “the inspectors of public works.” Now
Demosthenes inspected the repair of our walls, the most important of
public works. “Those who have been intrusted with any public money for
more than thirty days; those who are entitled to preside in a
tribunal.” *(6) But the inspectors of works are entitled to this
privilege. What then doth the law direct? That all such should assume,
not their “commission,” but their “magistracy,” having first been
judicially approved (for even the magistrates appointed by lot are not
exempted from this previous inquiry, but must be first approved before
they assume their office). These are also directed by the law to
submit the accounts of their administration to the legal officers,
as well as every other magistrate. And for the truth of what I now
advance, to the laws themselves do I appeal. Read.

[The laws.]

Here, then, you find that what these men call commissions or
agencies are declared to be magistracies. It is your part to bear this
in memory; to oppose the law to their presumption; to convince them
that you are not to be influenced by the wretched sophistical artifice
that would defeat the force of laws by words; and that the greater
their address in defending their illegal proceedings, the more
severely must they feel your resentment: for the public speaker should
ever use the same language with the law. Should he at any time speak
in one language, and the law pronounce another, to the just
authority of law should you grant your voices, not to the shameless
presumption of the speaker.

To that argument on which Demosthenes relies as utterly unanswerable
I would now briefly speak. This man will say, “I am director of the
fortifications. I confess it; but I have expended of my own money
for the public service an additional sum of one hundred minae, and
enlarged the work beyond my instructions: for what then am I to
account, unless a man is to be made accountable for his own
beneficence?” To this evasion you shall hear a just and good reply. In
this city, of so ancient an establishment and a circuit so
extensive, there is not a man exempted from account who has the
smallest part in the affairs of state. This I shall show, first, in
instances scarcely credible: thus the priests and priestesses are by
the laws obliged to account for the discharge of their office, all
in general, and each in particular; although they have received no
more than an honorary pension, and have had no other duty but of
offering up their prayers for us to the gods. And this is not the case
of single persons only, but of whole tribes, as the Eumolpidae, *(7)
the Ceryces, and all the others. Again, the trierarchs are by the
law made accountable for their conduct, although no public money
hath been committed to their charge; although they have not
embezzled large portions of their revenue, and accounted but for a
small part; although they have not affected to confer bounties on you,
while they really but restored your own property, No: they confessedly
expended their paternal fortunes to approve their zealous affection
for your service; and not our trierarchs alone, but the greatest
assemblies in the state are bound to submit to the sentence of our
tribunals. First, the law directs that the council of the Areopagus
shall stand accountable to the proper officers, and submit their
august transactions to a legal examination; thus our greatest judicial
body stands in perpetual dependence on your decisions. Shall the
members of this council, then, be precluded from the honor of a crown?
Such has been the ordinance from times the most remote. And have
they no regard to public honor? So scrupulous is their regard, that it
is not deemed sufficient that their conduct should not be
notoriously criminal; their least irregularity is severely punished- a
discipline too rigorous for our delicate orators. Again, our
lawgiver directs that the Senate of five hundred shall be bound to
account for their conduct; and so great diffidence doth he express
of those who have not yet rendered such account, that in the very
beginning of the law it is ordained “that no magistrate who hath not
yet passed through the ordinary examination shall be permitted to go
abroad.” But here a man may exclaim, “What! in the name of Heaven,
am I, because I have been in office, to be confined to the city?” Yes,
and with good reason; lest, when you have secreted the public money
and betrayed your trust, you might enjoy your perfidy by flight.
Again, the laws forbid the man who hath not yet accounted to the state
to dedicate any part of his effects to religious purposes, to
deposit any offering in a temple, to accept of an adoption into any
family, to make any alienation of his property; and to many other
instances is the prohibition extended. In one word, our lawgiver
hath provided that the fortunes of such persons shall be secured as
a pledge to the community until their accounts are fairly examined and
approved. Nay, farther: suppose there be a man who hath neither
received nor expended any part of the public money, but hath only been
concerned in some affairs relative to the state, even such a one is
bound to submit his accounts to the proper officers. “But how can
the man who hath neither received nor expended pass such accounts?”
The law hath obviated this difficulty, and expressly prescribed the
form of his accounts. It directs that it shall consist of this
declaration: “I have not received, neither have I disposed of any
public money.” To confirm the truth of this hear the laws themselves.

[The laws.]

When Demosthenes, therefore, shall exult in his evasion, and
insist that he is not to be accountable for the additional sum which
he bestowed freely on the state, press him with this reply: “It was
then your duty, Demosthenes, to have permitted the usual and legal
proclamation to be made, Who is disposed to prosecute? and to have
given an opportunity to every citizen that pleased to have urged on
his part that you bestowed no such additional sum; but that, on the
contrary, having been intrusted with ten talents for the repair of our
fortifications, you really expended but a small part of this great
sum. Do not assume an honor to which you have no pretensions; do not
wrest their suffrages from your judges; do not act in presumptuous
contempt of the laws, but with due submission yield to their guidance.
Such is the conduct that must secure the freedom of our constitution.”
As to the evasions on which these men rely, I trust that I have
spoken sufficiently. That Demosthenes really stood accountable to
the state at the time when this man proposed his decree; that he was
really a magistrate, as manager of the theatrical funds; a magistrate,
as inspector of the fortifications; that his conduct in either of
these offices had not been examined, had not obtained the legal
approbation, I shall now endeavor to demonstrate from the public
records. Read in whose archonship, in what month, on what day, in what
assembly, Demosthenes was chosen into the office of manager of the
theatrical funds. So shall it appear, that during the execution of
this office the decree was made which conferred this crown on him.

[The computation of the times.]

If, then, I should here rest my cause without proceeding farther,
Ctesiphon must stand convicted; convicted, not by the arguments of his
accuser, but by the public records. In former times, Athenians, it was
the custom that the state should elect a comptroller, who in every
presidency of each tribe was to return to the people an exact state of
the finances. But by the implicit confidence which you reposed in
Eubulus, the men who were chosen to the management of the theatrical
money executed this office of comptroller (I mean before the law of
Hegemon was enacted), together with the offices of receiver and of
inspector of our naval affairs; they were charged with the building of
our arsenals, with the repair of our roads; in a word, they were
intrusted with the conduct of almost all our public business. I say
not this to impeach their conduct or to arraign their integrity; I
mean but to convince you that our laws have expressly directed that no
man yet accountable for his conduct in any one office, even of the
smallest consequence, shall be entitled to the honor of a crown
until his accounts have been regularly examined and approved; and that
Ctesiphon hath yet presumed to confer this honor on Demosthenes when
engaged in every kind of public magistracy. At the time of this decree
he was a magistrate as inspector of the fortifications, a magistrate
as intrusted with public money, and, like other officers of the state,
imposed fines and presided in tribunals. These things I shall prove by
the testimony of Demosthenes and Ctesiphon themselves; for in the
archonship of Chaerondas, on the twenty-second of the month
Thargelion, was a popular assembly held, in which Demosthenes obtained
a decree appointing a convention of the tribes on the second of the
succeeding month; and on the third his decree directed, still farther,
that supervisors should be chosen and treasurers from each tribe,
for conducting the repairs of our fortifications. And justly did he
thus direct, that the public might have the security of good and
responsible citizens who might return a fair account of all
disbursements. Read these decrees.

[The decrees.]


Yes; but you will hear it urged in answer, that to this office of
inspector of the works he was not appointed in the general assembly
either by lot or suffrage. This is an argument on which Demosthenes
and Ctesiphon will dwell with the utmost confidence. My answer shall
be easy, plain, and brief; but first I would premise a few things on
this subject. Observe, Athenians! of magistracy there are three kinds.
First, those appointed by lot or by election; secondly, the men who
have managed public money for more than thirty days, or have inspected
public works. To these the law adds another species, and expressly
declares that all such persons as, in consequence of a regular
appointment, have enjoyed the right of jurisdiction, shall when
approved be accounted magistrates: so that, should we take away the
magistrates appointed by lot or suffrage, there yet remains the last
kind of those appointed by the tribes, or the thirds of tribes, or
by particular districts, to manage public money, all which are
declared to be magistrates from the time of their appointment. And
this happens in cases like that before us where it is a direction to
the tribes to make canals or to build ships of war. For the truth of
this I appeal to the laws themselves. Read.

[The law.]

Let it be remembered that, as I have already observed, the
sentence of the law is this, that all those appointed to any office by
their tribes shall act as magistrates, when first judicially approved.
But the Pandionian tribe hath made Demosthenes a magistrate, by
appointing him an inspector of the works; and for this purpose he hath
been intrusted with public money to the amount of near ten talents.
Again, another law expressly forbids any magistrate who yet stands
accountable for his conduct to be honored with a crown. You have sworn
to give sentence according to the laws. Here is a speaker who hath
brought in a decree for granting a crown to a man yet accountable
for his conduct. Nor hath he added that saving clause, “when his
accounts have first been passed.” I have proved the point of
illegality from the testimony of your laws, from the testimony of your
decrees, and from that of the opposite parties. How then can any man
support a prosecution of this nature with greater force and clearness?

But farther, I shall now demonstrate that this decree is also a
violation of the law by the manner in which it directs that this crown
shall be proclaimed. The laws declare in terms the most explicit, that
if any man receives a crown from the Senate, the proclamation shall be
made in the senate-house; if by the people, in the assembly; never
in any other place. Read this law.

[The law.]

And this institution is just and excellent. The author of this law
seems to have been persuaded that a public speaker should not
ostentatiously display his merits before foreigners: that he should be
contented with the approbation of this city, of these his
fellow-citizens, without practising vile arts to procure a public
honor. So thought our lawgiver. What are the sentiments of
Ctesiphon? Read his decree.

[The decree.]

You have heard, Athenians! that the law directs, in every case where
a crown is granted by the people, that the proclamation shall be
made in presence of the people, in the Pnyx, in full assembly: never
in any other place. Yet Ctesiphon hath appointed proclamation to be
made in the theatre: not contented with the act itself should
violate our laws, he hath presumed to change the scene of it. He
confers this honor, not while the people are assembled, but while
the new tragedies are exhibiting; not in the presence of the people,
but of the Greeks; that they too may know on what kind of man our
honors are conferred.

And now, when the illegal nature of this decree is so
incontestably established, the author, assisted by his confederate
Demosthenes, hath yet recourse to subtleties, in order to evade the
force of justice. These I must explain: I must so guard you against
them that you may not be surprised by their pernicious influence.
These men can by no means deny that our laws expressly direct that a
crown conferred on any citizen by the people shall be proclaimed in
the assembly, and in no other place. But, to defend their conduct,
they produce a law relative to our festivals; of this they but quote a
part, that they may more effectually deceive you; and thus recur to an
ordinance by no means applicable to the case before us. Accordingly
they will tell you there are in this state two laws enacted relative
to proclamations. One is that which I have now produced, expressly
forbidding the proclamation of a crown granted by the people to be
issued in any other place but the assembly. The other, say they, is
contrary to this: it allows; the liberty of proclaiming a crown so
conferred in the theatre, when the tragedies are exhibited;
“provided always, that the people shall so determine by their voices.”
On this law it is (thus will they plead) that Ctesiphon has founded
his decree. To this artifice I shall oppose your own laws, my
assistance, *(8) my constant reliance, through the whole course of
this prosecution. If this be so- if such a custom hath been admitted
into our government, that laws repealed are still allowed to hold
their place amid those in full force- that two directly
contradictory to each other are enacted on the same subject- what
shall we pronounce on that polity where the laws command and forbid
the very same things? But this is by no means the case; and never
may your public acts be exposed to such disorder! The great lawgiver
to whom we owe our constitution was not inattentive to guard against
such dangers. It is his express direction that in every year our
body of laws shall be adjusted by the legal inspectors in the
popular assembly; and if, after due examination and inspection, it
shall appear that a law hath been enacted contradictory to a former
law; or that any one when repealed shall still hold its place among
those actually in force; or that any more than one have been enacted
on the same subject; that in all such cases the laws shall be
transcribed and fixed up in public on the statues of our heroes;
that the presidents shall convene the assembly, shall specify the
authors of these several laws; and that the proper officer shall
propose the question to the people, that they may by their voices
repeal some and establish others; that so one single law and no more
may remain in force on one subject. To prove this read the laws.

[The laws.]

If, then, the allegations of these men were just, and that in
reality there were two different laws relative to proclamations, it
seems impossible but that the inspectors must have detected this;
the president of the assembly must have returned them to their
respective authors; and the one or other must have been repealed-
either that which grants the power of proclaiming, or that which
denies it. But since nothing of all this appears, these men must stand
convicted of asserting what is not only false, but absolutely

The source from whence they derive this falsehood I shall here
explain, when first I have premised on what occasions these laws
were enacted relative to proclamations in the theatre. It hath been
the custom in this city, during the performance of the tragedies, that
certain persons made proclamation, not of an act ordained of the
people, but some, of a crown conferred on them by their tribe, or
sometimes by their district; of others, it was thus notified that they
granted freedom to their slaves, to which they called on the Greeks as
witnesses; and (which was the most invidious case) some persons who
had obtained the honors of hospitable reception in foreign states used
their interest to gain a proclamation, importing that such a
community, as that of Rhodes, for instance, or of Chios, conferred a
crown on them on account of their virtue and magnanimity. And this
they did, not as men honored by the Senate or by the people, in
consequence of your concession, by virtue of your suffrage, and with a
due acknowledgment of your favor, but merely on their own authority,
without any decree of yours. By these means it happened that the
audience and the managers and the performers were disturbed; and the
men who obtained proclamations in the theatre were really more honored
than those on whom the people conferred crowns. These had a place
assigned for receiving these honors- the assembly: in no other place
could proclamation be made: the others displayed their honors in the
presence of all the Greeks. The one obtained their crowns from your
decree by your permission; the others without any decree. One of our
statesmen, observing this, established a law by no means interfering
with that which respects persons crowned by the people; by no means
tending to render this invalid: for it was not the assembly that was
disturbed, but the theatre: nor was it his intention to contradict
laws already established; our constitution forbids this. No; the law I
mean solely regards those who are crowned without a decree of the
people, by their tribe or district; those who give freedom to their
slaves; those who receive crowns from foreigners; and it expressly
provides that no person shall make their slaves free in the theatre;
no persons shall be proclaimed as honored with a crown by their tribe,
by their district, or by any other people whatsoever (these are the
words of this law), on pain of infamy to the herald who shall make
such proclamation.

Since, then, it is provided that those crowned by the Senate shall
be proclaimed in the senate-house, those by the people in the
assembly; since it is expressly forbidden that men crowned by their
districts or by their tribes shall have proclamation made in the
theatre; that no man may indulge an idle vanity by public honors
thus clandestinely procured; since the law directs, still further,
that no proclamation shall be made by any others, but by the Senate,
by the people, by the tribes, or by the districts, respectively; if we
deduct all these cases, what will remain but crowns conferred by
foreigners? That I speak with truth the law itself affords a
powerful argument. It directs that the golden crown conferred by
proclamation in the theatre shall be taken from the person thus
honored and consecrated to Minerva. But who shall presume to impute so
illiberal a procedure to the community of Athens? Can the state, or
can a private person be suspected of a spirit so sordid, that when
they themselves have granted a crown, when it hath been just
proclaimed, they should take it back again and dedicate it? No; I
apprehend that such dedication is made because the crown is
conferred by foreigners, that no man, by valuing the affection of
strangers at a higher rate than that of his country, may suffer
corruption to steal into his heart. But when a crown hath been
proclaimed in the assembly, is the person honored bound to dedicate
it? No; he is allowed to possess it, that not he alone but his
posterity may retain such a memorial in their family, and never suffer
their affections to be alienated from their country. Hence hath the
author of the law further provided, that no proclamation shall be made
in the theatre of any foreign crown, unless the people shall so direct
by their decree; so the community which is desirous of granting a
crown to any of our citizens may be obliged to send ambassadors and
solicit your permission, and the person crowned shall owe less
gratitude to those who confer this honor than to you, by whose
permission it is proclaimed. For the truth of this consult the laws

[The laws.]

When these men, therefore, insidiously alleged that the law hath
declared it allowable to confer a crown, by virtue of a decree of
the assembly, remember to make this reply: “True; if such a crown be
offered by any other state: but if it be the gift of the Athenian
people, the place of conferring it is determined. No proclamation is
to be made but in the assembly.” Wrest and torture this clause, “and
in no other place whatever,” to the utmost; still you can never
prove that your decree hath not violated the laws.

There remains a part of this my accusation on which I must enlarge
with the greatest care- that which respects the pretence on which he
hath pronounced this man worthy of the crown. These are the words of
his decree: “And the herald shall make proclamation in the theatre, in
presence of the Greeks, that the community of Athens hath crowned
him on account of his virtue and magnanimity; and (what is still
stronger) for his constant and inviolable attachment to the interest
of the state through the course of all his counsels and
administration.” And from henceforward I have but to lay before you
a plain simple detail; such as can give you no trouble in forming your
determination: for it is my part, as the prosecutor, to satisfy you in
this single point, that the praises here bestowed on Demosthenes are
false: that there never was a time in which he commenced a faithful
counsellor, far from persevering in any course of conduct advantageous
to the state. If this be proved, Ctesiphon must at once stand justly
condemned; for all our laws declare that no man is to insert any
falsehood in the public decrees. On the other hand, it is incumbent on
the defendant to prove the contrary. You are to determine on our
several allegations. Thus then I proceed.

To enter into a minute examination of the life of Demosthenes I fear
might lead me into a detail too tedious. And why should I insist on
such points as the circumstances of the indictment for his wound,
brought before the Areopagus against Demomeles his kinsman, and the
gashes he inflicted on his own head? or why should I speak of the
expedition under Cephisodotus, and the sailing of our fleet to the
Hellespont, when Demosthenes acted as a trierarch, entertained the
admiral on board his ship, made him partaker of his table, of his
sacrifices and religious rites, confessed his just right to all
those instances of affection, as an hereditary friend; and yet, when
an impeachment had been brought against him which affected his life,
appeared as his accuser? Why, again, should I take notice of his
affair with Midias; of the blows which he received in his office of
director of the entertainments; or how, for the sum of thirty minae,
he compounded this insult, as well as the sentence which the people
pronounced against Midias in the theatre? These and the like
particulars I determine to pass over; not that I would betray the
cause of justice; not that I would recommend myself to favor by an
affected tenderness; but lest it should be objected that I produce
facts true, indeed, but long since acknowledged and notorious. Say,
then, Ctesiphon, when the most heinous instances of this man’s
baseness are so incontestably evident that his accuser exposes himself
to the censure, not of advancing falsehoods, but of recurring to facts
so long acknowledged and notorious, is he to be publicly honored, or
to be branded with infamy? And shall you, who have presumed to form
decrees equally contrary to truth and to the laws, insolently bid
defiance to the tribunal, or feel the weight of public justice?

My objections to his public conduct shall be more explicit. I am
informed that Demosthenes, when admitted to his defence, means to
enumerate four different periods in which he was engaged in the
administration of affairs. One, and the first, of these (as I am
assured) he accounts that time in which we were at war with Philip for
Amphipolis: and this period he closes with the peace and alliance
which we concluded, in consequence of the decree proposed by
Philocrates, in which Demosthenes had equal share, as I shall
immediately demonstrate. The second period he computes from the time
in which we enjoyed this peace down to that day when he put an end
to a treaty that had till then subsisted, and himself proposed the
decree for war. The third, from the time when hostilities were
commenced, down to the fatal battle of Chaeronea. The fourth is this
present time.

After this particular specification, as I am informed, he means to
call on me, and to demand explicitly on which of these four periods
I found my prosecution; and at what particular time I object to his
administration as inconsistent with the public interest. Should I
refuse to answer, should I attempt the least evasion or retreat, he
boasts that he will pursue me and tear off my disguise; that he will
haul me to the tribunal, and compel me to reply. That I may then at
once confound this presumption, and guard you against such artifice, I
thus explicitly reply: Before these your judges, before the other
citizens spectators of this trial, before all the Greeks who have been
solicitous to hear the event of this cause (and of these I see no
small number, but rather more than ever yet known to attend on any
public trial) I thus reply; I say, that on every one of these four
periods which you have thus distinguished is my accusation founded.
And if the gods vouchsafe me their assistance- if the judges grant
me an impartial hearing- and if my memory shall faithfully recall
the several instances of your guilt, I am fully confident that I shall
demonstrate to this tribunal that the preservation of the state is
to be ascribed to the gods, and to those citizens who have conducted
our affairs with a truly patriotic and well-tempered zeal, and that
all our calamities are to be imputed to Demosthenes As their real
author. And in this charge I shall observe the very same method which,
as I am informed, he intends to use. I shall begin with speaking of
his first period, then proceed to the second and the third in order,
and conclude with observations on present affairs. To that peace,
then, I now go back of which you, Demosthenes, and Philocrates were
the first movers.

You had the fairest opportunity, Athenians! of concluding this first
peace in conjunction with the general assembly of the Greeks, had
certain persons suffered you to wait the return of our ambassadors, at
that time sent through Greece to invite the states to join in the
general confederacy against Philip; and in the progress of these
negotiations the Greeks would have freely acknowledged you the leading
state. Of these advantages were you deprived by Demosthenes and
Philocrates, and by the bribes which they received in traitorous
conspiracy against your government. If at first view this assertion
should seem incredible to any in this tribunal, let such attend to
what is now to be advanced, just as men sit down to the accounts of
money a long time since expended. We sometimes come from home
possessed with false opinions of the state of such accounts: but
when the several sums have been exactly collected, there is no man
of a temper so obstinate as to dissemble or to refuse his assent to
the truth of that which the account itself exhibits. Hear me in the
present cause with dispositions of the same kind. And if with
respect to past transactions any one among you hath come hither
possessed with an opinion that Demosthenes never yet appeared as
advocate for the interests of Philip, in dark confederacy with
Philocrates; if any man, I say, be so persuaded, let him suspend his
judgment, and neither assent nor deny until he hath heard (for justice
requires this). And if I shall obtain your attention to a brief
recital of these periods, and to the decree which Demosthenes and
Philocrates jointly proposed; if the fair state of truth itself
shall convict Demosthenes of having proposed many decrees in concert
with Philocrates, jointly proposed; if the fair state of truth
itself shall convict Demosthenes of having proposed many decrees in
concert with Philocrates relative to the former peace and alliance; of
having flattered Philip and his ambassadors with a most abandoned
and shameless servility; of having precipitated our negotiations
without waiting the return of our deputies, and forced the people into
a separate peace, without the concurrence of the general convention of
the Greeks; of having betrayed Cersobleptes, king of Thrace, the
friend and ally of this state, into the hands of Philip; if I shall
clearly prove these points, I make but this reasonable request,
that, in the name of Heaven, you would concur with me, that during the
first of these four periods his administration hath been by no means
excellent. I shall proceed in such a manner that you may accompany
me without any difficulty.

Philocrates proposed a decree, by which Philip was admitted to
send hither his heralds and ambassadors to treat about a peace and
an alliance. This decree was accused as a violation of the law: the
time of trial came: Lycinus, who had first moved for this trial, now
appeared as prosecutor; Philocrates entered on his defence: in this he
was assisted by Demosthenes; and Philocrates escaped. Then came the
time in which Themistocles was archon. During his magistracy
Demosthenes obtains a seat in the Senate as a member of that body,
without any *(9) immediate right, or any reversionary title, but by
intrigue and bribery; and this in order to support Philocrates with
all his power and interest, as the event itself discovered: for
Philocrates prevailed still further, so as to obtain another decree,
by which it was resolved to choose ten deputies, who should repair
to Philip and require him to send hither ambassadors with full
powers to conclude a peace. Of these Demosthenes was one. At his
return to the city he applauded the treaty; his report was exactly
consonant with that of the other deputies; and he alone, of all the
senators, moved that we should proceed to a solemn ratification of the
treaty with Philip’s ministers.

Thus did he complete the work which Philocrates began. The one
allows these ministers to repair to Athens; the other ratifies the
negotiation. What I am now to observe demands your utmost attention.
Through the course of this treaty the other deputies (who on a
change of affairs were exposed to all the malignity of Demosthenes)
had scarcely any transactions with the ministers of Macedon. The great
agents were Demosthenes and Philocrates; and with good reason: for
they had not only acted as deputies, but had also been authors of
the decrees which secured these important points; first, that you
should not wait the return of the ambassadors sent to unite the Greeks
against Philip; that you should conclude this treaty separately, and
not in conjunction with the Greeks: secondly, that you should
resolve not only to conclude a peace but an alliance with Philip; that
if any of the states preserved a regard for us, they might at once
be confounded with despair, when at the very time that you were
prompting them to war they found you not only concluding a peace,
but entering into a strict alliance with the enemy; and lastly, that
Cersobleptes should be excluded from the treaty; that he should be
denied a share in this alliance and this peace at the very time when
his kingdom was threatened with an immediate invasion.

The prince whose gold purchased these important points is by no
means to be accused. Before the treaty was concluded, and previously
to his solemn engagements, we cannot impute it as a crime that he
pursued his own interests: but the men who traitorously resigned
into his hands the strength and security of the state should justly
feel the severest effects of your resentment. He, then, who now
declares himself the enemy of Alexander, Demosthenes, who at that time
was the enemy of Philip- he who objects to me my connections of
friendship with Alexander, proposed a decree utterly subversive of the
regular and gradual course of public business, by which the
magistrates were to convene an assembly on the eighth of the month
Elaphebolion, a day destined to the sacrifices and religious
ceremonies in honor of Aesculapius, when the rites were just
preparing. And what was the pretence for choosing this solemn
festival, on which no assembly hath ever been remembered? “In
order,” saith he, “that if ambassadors should arrive from Macedon, the
people may as soon as possible deliberate on sending their deputies to
Philip.” Thus, before the ambassadors had yet appeared, an assembly
was secured to favor them; you were at once precluded from all the
advantages which time might produce, and your transactions fatally
precipitated, that you might conclude this treaty separately, not in
conjunction with the Greeks, on the return of your ambassadors.
After this, the ministers of Philip arrived at Athens; ours were still
abroad, laboring to stir up the Greeks against Macedon. Then did
Demosthenes obtain another decree, by which it was resolved that you
should take into consideration, not only a peace, but an alliance; and
this (without waiting for the return of your ambassadors)
immediately after the festival of Bacchus, on the eighteenth day of
the month. For the truth of this I appeal to the decrees.

[The decrees.]

After these festivals our assemblies were accordingly convened. In
the first was the general resolution of our allies publicly read:
the heads of which I shall here briefly recite. They, in the first
place, resolved that you should proceed to deliberate only about a
peace. Of an alliance not one word was mentioned; and this not from
inattention, but because they deemed even a peace itself rather
necessary than honorable. In the next place, they wisely provided
against the fatal consequences of the corruption of Demosthenes: for
they expressly resolved still farther, that “it shall and may be
lawful for any of the Grecian states whatever, within the space of
three months, to accede in due form to this treaty, to join in the
same solemn engagements, and to be included in the same stipulations.”
Thus were two most important points secured. First, an interval of
three months was provided for the Greeks; a time sufficient to prepare
their deputations; and then the whole collected body of the nation
stood well affected and attached to Athens; that if at any time the
treaty should be violated, we might not be involved in war single
and unsupported. These resolutions are themselves the amplest
testimony to the truth of my assertions.

[The resolutions of the allies.]


To these resolutions I confess that I gave my voice, as did all
the speakers in the first assembly: and the people in general rose
with a firm persuasion that a peace indeed should be concluded; but
that as to an alliance, it would be most expedient to postpone the
consideration of this, on account of the invitations sent through
Greece, as this should be the act of the whole nation. Night
intervened, and the next morning we were again assembled: but now
Demosthenes had taken care to secure the gallery, and to exclude all
those who might speak against his measures. He declared that all the
proceedings of the day before must be utterly ineffectual, unless
the Macedonian ministers could be persuaded to concur; that he on
his part had no conception of a peace distinct from an alliance: we
ought not, said he (I well remember his expression, which the
odiousness both of the speaker and of the term itself hath impressed
deeply on my mind)- we ought not to rend the alliance from the
peace; we ought not to wait the dilatory proceedings of the Greeks,
but at once determine either to support the war alone or to make a
separate peace. He concluded with calling up Antipater to the gallery:
he proposed some questions to him which had been previously
concerted between them, and to which he instructed him in such a reply
as might effectually defeat the interest of the state. Thus the
deliberation ended in the full establishment of those measures to
which the importunity of Demosthenes extorted your consent, and
which were confirmed in form by the decree of Philocrates.
Nothing now remained but to make an absolute resignation of
Cersobleptes and the Thracian territories: and this they effected on
the twenty-sixth of the same month, before that Demosthenes had
proceeded on the second embassy appointed for the solemn
ratification of the treaty: for this hater of Alexander, this foe to
Philip, this your public speaker, went twice on an embassy to Macedon,
although he needed not have once accepted of this charge; he who now
urges you to spurn with contempt the Macedonians- he, I say, having
taken his place in the assembly- I mean that which was convened on the
twenty-sixth, he whose intrigues procured him the dignity of a
senator, betrayed Cersobleptes into the hands of Philip, with the
assistance of his confederate Philocrates. For this Philocrates
surreptitiously inserted in his decree- that decree which
Demosthenes proposed in form- the following clause among many
others: “That the several representatives of the allies shall be bound
to enter into solemn ratifications of the peace with the ministers
of Philip on this very day.” But Cersobleptes had no representatives
then present; and therefore he who moved that the representatives
should then swear to the treaty by direct consequence excluded
Cersobleptes from the treaty, who had not been at all represented in
this assembly. To prove the truth of this, read the authors of this
decree and the name of the president who proposed it.

[The decree.- The president.]


A noble institution this- a truly noble institution, Athenians! this
exact preservation of our public records! Thus they remain
unalterable, and never change from one to the other party, with our
variable politicians; but, whenever we are pleased to resort to
them, afford us ample satisfaction as to the real characters of
those who, after a long course of baseness, affect to be thought men
of worth and excellence, on any change of circumstances.
It remains that I produce some instances of his abandoned
flattery. For one whole year did Demosthenes enjoy the honor of a
senator; and yet in all that time it never appears that he moved to
grant precedency to any ministers: for the first, the only time, he
conferred this distinction on the ministers of Philip: he servilely
attended to accommodate them with his cushions and his carpets: by the
dawn of day he conducted them to the theatre; and, by his indecent and
abandoned adulation, raised a universal uproar of derision. When
they were on their departure towards Thebes he hired three teams of
mules, and conducted them in state into that city. Thus did he
expose his country to ridicule. But, that I may confine myself to
facts, read the decree relative to the grant of precedency.

[The decree.]


And yet this abject, this enormous flatterer, *(10) when he had been
the first that received advice of Philip’s death, from the
emissaries of Charidemus, pretended a divine vision, and, with a
shameless lie, declared that this intelligence had been conveyed to
him, not by Charidemus, but by Jupiter and Minerva! Thus he dared to
boast that these divinities, by whom he had sworn falsely in the
day, had condescended to hold communication with him in the night, and
to inform him of futurity. Seven days had now scarcely elapsed since
the death of his daughter, when this wretch, before he had performed
the usual rites of mourning, before he had duly paid her funeral
honors, crowned his head with a chaplet, put on his white robe, made a
solemn sacrifice in despite of law and decency; and this when he had
lost his child- the first, the only child that had ever called him
by the tender name of father! I say not this to insult his
misfortunes; I mean but to display his real character: for he who
hates his children, he who is a bad parent, cannot possibly prove a
good minister. He who is insensible to that natural affection which
should engage his heart to those who are most intimate and near to
him, can never feel a greater regard to your welfare than to that of
strangers. He who acts wickedly in private life cannot prove excellent
in his public conduct: he who is base at home can never acquit himself
with honor when sent to a strange country in a public character: for
it is not the man, but the scene that changes.
By what fortunate revolution he hath been enabled to assume a new
character (for I now come to the second period); whence it is that
Philocrates, for the same conduct in which he was equally concerned,
hath been impeached and condemned to exile, while Demosthenes supports
his station and maintains the power of impeaching others; and by
what means this abandoned wretch hath been enabled to plunge you
into such calamities; these are points which merit your peculiar

When Philip, then, had possessed himself of Thermopylae by surprise;
when, contrary to all expectation, he had subverted the cities of
the Phocians; when he had raised the state of Thebes to a degree of
power too great (as we then thought) for the times or for our
interest; when we were in such consternation that our effects were all
collected from the country and deposited within these walls- the
severest indignation was expressed against the deputies in general who
had been employed in the negotiation of the peace, but principally,
and above all others, against Philocrates and Demosthenes; because
they had not only been concerned in the deputation, but were the first
movers and authors of the decree for peace. It happened at this
juncture that a difference arose between Demosthenes and
Philocrates, nearly on the same occasion which you yourselves
suspected must produce animosities between them. The ferment which
arose from hence, together with the natural distemper of his mind,
produced such counsels as nothing but an abject terror could
dictate, together with a malignant jealousy of the advantages which
Philocrates derived from his corruption. He concluded, that by
inveighing against his colleagues and against Philip, Philocrates must
inevitably fall; that the other deputies must be in danger; that he
himself must gain reputation; and, notwithstanding his baseness and
treachery to his friends, he must acquire the character of a
consummate patriot. The enemies of our tranquillity perceived his
designs: they at once invited him to the gallery, and extolled him
as the only man who disdained to betray the public interest for a
bribe. The moment he appeared he kindled up the flame of war and
confusion. He it was, Athenians, who first found out the Serrian fort,
and Doriscum, and Ergiske, and Murgiske, and Ganos, and Ganides-
places whose very names were hitherto utterly unknown: and such was
his power in perverting and perplexing, that if Philip declined to
send his ministers to Athens, he represented it as a contemptuous
insult on the state; if he did send them, they were spies and not
ministers; if he inclined to submit his disputes with us to some
impartial mediating state, no equal umpire could be found, he said,
between us and Philip. This prince gave us up the Halonesus: but he
insisted that we should not receive it unless it was declared, not
that he resigned, but restored; thus cavilling about syllables. And to
crown all his conduct, by paying public honors to those who had
carried their arms into Thessaly and Magnesia, under the command of
Aristodemus, in direct violation of the treaty, he dissolved the
peace, and prepared the way for calamity and war.

Yes, but by the alliance of the Euboeans and the Thebans did he (for
thus he boasts) surround our city with walls of brass and adamant. But
the truth is, Athenians, that in these transactions he committed no
less than three most enormous offences, of which you are utterly
uninformed. Although I am impatient to come to that grand article- the
alliance of the Thebans, yet, for the sake of order, I must begin with
that of the Euboeans.

You, my countrymen, had received many and great injuries from
Mnesarchus the Chalcidian, the father of Callias and Taurosthenes (the
man whom he hath now presumed, for the sake of a wretched bribe, to
enrol among the citizens of Athens), and also from Themisan the
Eretrian, who in time of profound peace wrested Oropus from you; yet
you consented to bury all this in oblivion; and when the Thebans had
invaded Euboea in order to enslave the cities, within five days you
appeared in their defence with a powerful armament; and before
thirty days had yet elapsed, you obliged the Thebans to capitulate and
to evacuate the island. Thus absolute masters of Euboea, you
reinstated its cities and communities in all their privileges; you
generously and equitably relied on their faith, and thought it
highly unjust to retain the memory of ancient animosities when they
implicitly resigned themselves to your honor. Yet to these important
obligations the people of Chalcis did by no means make the due
returns. On the contrary, when you had passed into Euboea to assist
Plutarch, at first indeed you were received with all the appearances
of friendship; but when once we had advanced beyond Tamynas, and
passed the eminence named Cotylaeum- Callias, now perceiving that we
had encamped in a dangerous situation, from whence it was impossible
to disengage ourselves but by a victory, and where we could receive no
reinforcement either by sea or land- this Callias, I say, on whom
Demosthenes, having received his bribes, so freely lavishes his
applause, collected an army from all quarters of Euboea, which he
reinforced with a detachment sent in by Philip; while his brother
Taurosthenes, he who so graciously salutes and smiles on every
citizen, brought down his band of mercenaries from Phocis, and both
advanced with a firm purpose to destroy us; and had not some deity
graciously interposed to save our army, and had not all our forces,
both infantry and cavalry, performed extraordinary acts of valor at
the hippodrome of Tamynas, and after a complete victory obliged the
enemy to lay down their arms, the state must have been exposed to a
defeat the most disgraceful. For a defeat is not of itself the
greatest of calamities; but when that defeat is the consequence of
an engagement with dishonorable enemies, then the calamity is doubled.

Yet, notwithstanding this treatment, you were again reconciled to
these people; and Callias, now restored to your favor, preserved
appearances for a little time, but soon returned with extraordinary
violence to his natural dispositions. His pretence was to form a
convention of the Euboean states at Chalcis; his real design to
fortify the island against us, and to secure to himself a
sovereignty of peculiar importance; and hoping to prevail on Philip to
assist him in this design, he went over to Macedon, was constantly
in Philip’s train, and came to be regarded as one of those who are
styled his companions. But having forfeited this prince’s favor by his
offences, he was obliged to fly; and having rendered himself obnoxious
at Thebes, he retired from that city also; and thus his course of
conduct, more uncertain and variable than the Euripus that flows by
his native habitation, involved him in the resentment both of the
Thebans and of Philip. In the midst of his confusion and perplexity,
when an army was actually preparing to march against him, he saw but
one resource left, and this was to prevail on the Athenians, by
acknowledging him as their confederate, to enter into solemn
engagements to defend him if attacked by any enemy; and it was evident
that he must be attacked unless you were to prevent it. Possessed with
this design, he sent hither his deputies, Glaucetes, Empedon, and
Diodorus, so distinguished in the race, *(11) who came with airy hopes
for the people, but with money for Demosthenes and his associates. And
three material points there were, for all of which he then
bargained: first, that he should not be disappointed of our
alliance; for if the Athenians were to remember his former offences
and to reject him as a confederate, he had but one melancholy
alternative- either to fly from Chalcis, or to suffer himself to be
taken and put to death; with such formidable powers were both Philip
and the Thebans now preparing to surround him. In the second place,
the manager and mover of this alliance was to contrive (and for this
gold was liberally bestowed) that the Chalcidians should not be
obliged to attend the convention held at Athens. The third point
was, that they should be excused from paying their contributions.
Nor was Callias defeated in any one of these schemes. No. This
Demosthenes- this foe to tyrants, as he calls himself- this man whom
Ctesiphon declares a faithful minister- betrayed the most critical
interests of the state, and by his decree obliged us to take up arms
on every occasion in defence of the Chalcidians. This was the purport,
though not the formal style of the decree: to secure his point in
the most delicate and least offensive manner, he artfully changed a
single phrase, and ordained that the Chalcidian should take up arms if
on any occasion the Athenians should be attacked. But as to the
acknowledgment of our superiority in the general convention- as to
obliging the confederates to pay their subsidies, the great support of
war- these articles he entirely gave up; he who disguises the basest
actions by the most honorable names; whose importunity obliged you
to declare that you were resolved to send assistance to any of the
Greeks that needed it, but that you must suspend all farther
engagements of alliance, which should be formed only with those
whose good offices you had experienced. To prove the truth of my
assertions, I produce the instrument of Callias, the treaty of
alliance, and the decree.

[The decree.]

Nor is it his most heinous offence that he hath sold our
interests, our rights of precedency, and our subsidies: what I have
now to produce must be acknowledged still more enormous. For to such a
pitch of insolence and extravagance did Callias proceed, and to such
sordid corruption did Demosthenes descend- he whom Ctesiphon hath thus
applauded- that they contrived in your presence, in your view, in
the midst of your attention, to defraud you of the contributions
from Oreum, and of those from Eretria, to the amount of ten talents.
And when the representatives of these states had appeared in Athens,
they sent them back to Chalcis to assist in what was called the
convention of Euboea. By what means and by what iniquitous practices
they effected this will deserve your serious regard.

I am, then, to inform you that Callias was now no longer satisfied
to negotiate with us by his emissaries. He appeared in person; he rose
up and addressed himself to the assembly in a speech concerted by
Demosthenes. He told us that he was just arrived from Peloponnesus,
where he had been lately employed in settling the subsidies which each
city was to pay in order to support a war against Philip; the whole
amounting to a hundred talents. He distinguished the sums to be paid
by each state. The contributions of all the Achaeans and Megaraens
he rated at sixty, those of the cities of Euboea at forty talents; a
sum, as he observed, sufficient to maintain a formidable armament both
by sea and land. Many other Grecian states were ready to join in
this supply, so that there would be no deficiency either in money or
in forces. These were the effects of his public negotiations; but he
had besides carried on some secret transactions which were not to be
explained (of these some of our own citizens were witnesses), and then
he called on Demosthenes by name, and required him to confirm this
by his testimony. With a face of gravity and importance Demosthenes
then rose, bestowed the most extravagant applause on Callias, and
pretended to be well acquainted with his secret transactions. He
declared himself ready to report the success of his own embassy to
Peloponnesus and of that to Acarnania. The sum of all was this, that
by his means the whole body of the Peloponnesians and all the
Acarnanians were ready to march against Philip; that the amount of
their several contributions would be sufficient to complete an
armament of one hundred ships of war, ten thousand infantry, and one
thousand horse; that to these were to be added the domestic forces
of each state, from Peloponnesus more than two thousand heavy-armed
foot, and from Acarnania the same number; that all these states had
freely resigned the chief command to you; and that their
preparations were not fixed to some distant time, but were to be
completed by the sixteenth of the month Anthesterion, as, by his
direction and appointment, the states were to hold their convention at
Athens at the time of full moon: for in these cases the man acts a
distinguishing and peculiar part. Other boasters, when they advance
their falsehoods, are careful to express themselves in vague and
obscure terms, from a just dread of being detected: but Demosthenes,
when he would obtrude his impostures, first adds an oath to his lie,
and imprecates all the vengeance of Heaven on his own head. And
then, if he is to assure us of events which he knows will never be, he
has the hardiness to assign their particular times; if to persuade
us that he had negotiated with those he never saw, he enters into a
distinct detail of their names- thus insinuating himself into your
confidence, and imitating the natural and explicit manner of those who
speak truth; so that he is doubly an object of detestation, as he is
base and false, and as he would confound all the marks of truth and

When he had finished, he presented a decree to the secretary
longer than the Iliad, more frivolous than the speeches which he
usually delivers, or than the life which he hath led; filled with
hopes never to be gratified, and with armaments never to be raised.
And while he diverted your attention from his fraud, while he kept you
in suspense by his flattering assurances, he seized the favorable
moment to make his grand attack, and moved that ambassadors should
be sent to Eretria, who should entreat the Eretrians (because such
entreaties were mighty necessary) not to send their contribution of
five talents to Athens, but to intrust it to Callias; again, he
ordained that ambassadors should be appointed to repair to Oreum,
and to prevail on that state to unite with Athens in strict
confederacy. And now it appeared, that through this whole
transaction he had been influenced by a traitorous motive; for these
ambassadors were directed to solicit the people of Oreum also to pay
their five talents, not to you, but to Callias. To prove the truth
of this read the decree- not all the pompous preamble, the magnificent
account of navies, the parade and ostentation; but confine yourself to
the point of fraud and circumvention which were practised with too
much success by this impious and abandoned wretch, whom the decree
of Ctesiphon declares to have persevered, through the course of all
his public conduct, in an inviolable attachment to the state.

[The decree.]


Here is a grand account of ships and of levies, of the full moon,
and of conventions. Thus were you amused by words; while in fact you
lost the contributions of your allies, you were defrauded of ten

It remains that I inform you of the real motive which prompted
Demosthenes to procure this decree; and that was a bribe of three
talents; one received from Chalcis, by the hands of Callias, another
from Eretria, by Clitarchus, the sovereign of this state: the third
paid by Oreum; by which means the stipulation was discovered; for,
as Oreum is a free state, all things are there transacted by a
public decree. And as the people of this city had been quite exhausted
in the war with Philip, and reduced to the utmost indigence, they sent
over Gnosidemus, who had once been their sovereign, to entreat
Demosthenes to remit the talent; promising, on this condition, to
honor him with a statue of bronze, to be erected in their city. He
answered their deputy, that he had not the least occasion for their
paltry brass; that he insisted on his stipulation, which Callias
should prosecute. The people of Oreum, thus pressed by their creditor,
and not prepared to satisfy him, mortgaged their public revenues to
Demosthenes for this talent, and paid him interest at the rate of
one drachma *(12) a month for each mina, until they were enabled to
discharge the principal. And, to prove this, I produce the decree of
the Oreitans. Read.

[The decree.]


Here is a decree, Athenians, scandalous to our country. It is no
small indication of the general conduct of Demosthenes, and it is an
evidence of the most flagrant kind, which must condemn Ctesiphon at
once; for it is not possible that he who hath descended to such sordid
bribery can be that man of consummate virtue which Ctesiphon hath
presumed to represent him in his decree.

And now I proceed to the third of these periods; which was,
indeed, the fatal period, distinguished by the calamities in which
Demosthenes involved all Greece as well as his own city, by his
impious profanation of the Delphian temple, and by the iniquitous
and oppressive treaty in which he engaged us with the Thebans. But
first I must speak of his offences towards the gods.

There is a plain, Athenians, well known by the name of Cyrrha, and a
port now called the devoted and accursed. This tract the Cyrrhaeans
and Acragallidae inhabited; a lawless people, whose sacrilegious
violence profaned the shrine of Delphi and the offerings there
deposited, and who presumed to rebel against the Amphictyonic council.
The Amphictyons in general, and your ancestors in particular (as
tradition hath informed us), conceived the justest resentment, and
addressed themselves to the oracle, in order to be informed by what
punishment they might suppress these outrages. The priestess
pronounced her answer, that they were to wage perpetual war against
the Cyrrhaeans and Acragallidae, without the least intermission either
by day or night; that they were to lay waste their lands, and to
reduce their persons to slavery; that their possessions were to be set
apart from all worldly purposes, and dedicated to the Pythian
Apollo, to Diana, to Latona, and to Minerva; and that they were not to
cultivate their lands nor to suffer them to be cultivated. In
consequence of this oracle the Amphictyons decreed, and Solon the
Athenian was the first mover of this decree (the man so eminent for
making laws, and so conversant in the arts of poesy and philosophy),
that they should take up arms against these impious men, in
obedience to the divine commands of the oracle. A sufficient force
being accordingly raised by the Amphictyons, they reduced these men to
slavery, demolished their harbor, razed their city, and consecrated
their district, as the oracle directed: and to confirm these
proceedings, they bound themselves by an oath, that they would never
cultivate this consecrated land, nor suffer others to cultivate it;
but that they would support the rights of the god, and defend this
district thus consecrated with their persons and all their power.
Nor were they contented to bind themselves by an oath conceived in the
usual form- they enforced it by the addition of a most tremendous
imprecation. Thus it was expressed: “If any shall violate this
engagement, whether city, or private persons, or community, may such
violators be devoted to the vengeance of Apollo, of Diana, of
Latona, and of Minerva! may their lands never yield their fruits!
may their women never bring forth children of the human form, but
hideous monsters! may their herds be accursed with unnatural
barrenness! may all their attempts in war, all their transactions in
peace be ever unsuccessful! may total ruin forever pursue them,
their families, and their descendants! and may they never (these are
the very terms) appease the offended deities, either Apollo, or Diana,
or Latona, or Minerva! but may all their sacrifices be forever
rejected!” To confirm the truth of this, let the oracle be read;
listen to the imprecations, and recall to mind the oath by which
your ancestors were engaged in conjunction with the other Amphictyons.


“Still shall these towers their ancient pride maintain:
Nor force nor valor e’er their rampart gain;
Till Amphitrite, queen of azure waves,
The hallow’d lands of sovereign Phoebus laves:

Till round his seat her threatening surges roar,
And burst tumultuous on the sacred shore.”

[The oath.- The imprecation.]


Yet, notwithstanding these imprecations, notwithstanding the
solemn oath and the oracle, which to this day remain on record, did
the Locrians and the Amphissaeans, or, to speak more properly, their
magistrates, lawless and abandoned men, once more cultivate this
district, restore the devoted and accursed harbor, erect buildings
there, exact taxes from all ships that put into this harbor, and by
their bribes corrupt some of the pylagorae who had been sent to
Delphi, of which number Demosthenes was one. For, being chosen into
this office, he received a thousand drachmae from the Amphissaeans, to
take no notice of their transactions in the Amphictyonic council.
And it was stipulated, still farther, that for the time to come they
should pay him at Athens an annual sum of twenty minae out of their
accursed and devoted revenues; for which he was to use his utmost
efforts on every occasion to support the interest of the
Amphissaeans in this city. A transaction which served but to give
still farther evidence to this melancholy truth, that, whenever he
hath formed connections with any people, any private persons, any
sovereign magistrates, or any free communities, he hath never failed
to involve them in calamities the most deplorable. For now, behold how
Heaven and fortune asserted their superior power against this
impiety of the Amphissaeans!

In the archonship of Theophrastus, when Diognetus was ieromnemon,
you chose for pylagorae Midias (that man who on many accounts I wish
were still alive) and Thrasycles; and with these was I joined in
commission. On our arrival at Delphi, it happened that the
ieromnemon Diognetus was instantly seized with a fever, and that
Midias also shared the same misfortune. The other Amphictyons
assembled; when some persons who wished to approve themselves the
zealous friends of this state informed us that the Amphissaeans, now
exposed to the power of the Thebans, and studious to pay them the most
servile adulation, had introduced a decree against this city, by which
a fine of fifty talents was to be imposed on the community of
Athens, because we had deposited some golden shields in the new temple
before it had been completely finished, which bore the following,
and a very just inscription: “By the Athenians; taken from the Medes
and Thebans, when they fought against the Greeks.”

The ieromnemon sent for me, and desired that I should repair to
the Amphictyons, and speak in defence of that city, which I had myself
determined to do. But scarcely had I begun to speak, on my first
appearance in the assembly (where I rose with some warmth, as the
absence of the other deputies increased my solicitude), when I was
interrupted by the clamors of an Amphissaean, a man of outrageous
insolence, who seemed a total stranger to politeness, and was,
perhaps, driven to this extravagance by some evil genius. He began
thus: “Ye Greeks, were ye possessed with the least degree of wisdom,
ye would not suffer the name of the Athenians to be mentioned at
this time; ye would drive them from the temple as the objects of
divine wrath.” He then proceeded to take notice of our alliance with
the Phocians, which the decree of Crobylus had formed, and loaded
the state with many other odious imputations, which I then could not
hear with temper, and which I cannot now recollect but with pain.
His speech inflamed me to a degree of passion greater than I had
ever felt through my whole life. Among other particulars, on which I
shall not now enlarge, it occurred to me to take notice of the impiety
of the Amphissaeans with respect to the consecrated land; which I
pointed out to the Amphictyons from the place where I then stood, as
the temple rose above the Cyrrhaean plain, and commanded the whole
prospect of that district. “You see,” said I, “ye Amphictyons, how
this tract hath been occupied by the people of Amphissa: you see the
houses and factories they have there erected. Your own eyes are
witnesses that this accursed and devoted harbor is completely
furnished with buildings. You yourselves know, and need not any
testimony, that they have exacted duties, and raised large sums of
wealth from this harbor.” I then produced the oracle, the oath of
our ancestors, and the imprecation by which it was confirmed; and made
a solemn declaration, that “for the people of Athens, for myself,
for my children, and for my family, I would support the rights of
the god, and maintain the consecrated land with all my might and
power; and thus rescue my country from the guilt of sacrilege. Do you,
ye Greeks,” thus did I proceed, “determine for yourselves, as ye judge
proper. Your sacred rites are now prepared; your victims stand
before the altars; you are ready to offer up your solemn prayers for
blessings on yourselves and on your countries; but O consider, with
what voice, with what front, with what confidence can you breathe
out your petitions, if ye suffer these sacrilegious men, thus
devoted and accursed, to escape with impunity. The imprecation is
not conceived in dark or doubtful terms. No: the curse extends, not
only to these impious profaners, but to all those who suffer their
profanation to pass unrevenged. These are the very words with which
the awful and affecting form is closed: May they who permit them to
escape unpunished never offer up an acceptable sacrifice to Apollo, or
to Diana, or to Latona, or to Minerva! but may all their devotions
be rejected and abhorred!”

When I had urged these and many other particulars I retired from the
assembly; when a considerable clamor and tumult arose among the
Amphictyons: and the debate was now no longer about the shields
which we had dedicated, but about the punishment due to the
Amphissaeans. Thus was a considerable part of that day wasted, when at
length a herald arose and made proclamation, That all the
inhabitants of Delphi, above the age of sixteen, both slaves and
freemen, should the next morning, by sunrise, assemble in the
adjoining plain, called the plain of victims, with spades and
mattocks: and by another proclamation it was ordained that the
representatives of the several states should repair to the same
place to support the rights of the god and the consecrated land; and
that, if any representatives should disobey this summons, their
state was to be excluded from the temple, as sharing in the sacrilege,
and involved in the imprecation. The next day we accordingly
repaired to the place appointed, from whence we went down to the
Cyrrhaean plain; and having there demolished the harbor, and set
fire to the buildings, we retired. During these transactions the
Locrians of Amphissa, who are settled at the distance of sixty
stadia from Delphi, assembled in arms, and fell on us with their whole
force; and, had we not with difficulty gained the town by a
precipitate flight, we must have been in danger of total
destruction. On the succeeding day Cattyphus, who acted as president
of the council, summoned a convention of the Amphictyons; so they call
an assembly formed, not only of the representatives, but of all who
come to offer sacrifice or consult the oracle. In this convention many
accusations were urged against the Amphissaeans, and much applause
bestowed on our state. The whole debate was closed with a
resolution, by which the ieromnemons were directed to repair to
Thermopylae, at a time appointed, previous to the next ordinary
assembly, with a decree prepared for inflicting the due punishment
on the Amphissaeans, for their sacrilegious offences against the god
and the consecrated land, and for their outrage on the Amphictyons. To
prove the truth of this I produce the resolution itself.

[The resolution.]

And when at our return we reported this resolution, first in the
Senate, and then in the assembly of the people; when we had made a
full relation of all our transactions to the people, and the whole
state determined to act agreeably to the dictates of piety; when
Demosthenes, from his private connections with Amphissa, labored to
defeat this purpose, and his iniquitous practices were by me clearly
detected in your presence; when he found it impossible to defeat the
interests of his country by a public opposition, he had recourse to
secret management in the Senate. There, having first taken care to
exclude all private citizens, he gained a resolution (by taking
advantage of his inexperience who moved it) which he produced to the
popular assembly: and this resolution he contrived to be confirmed
by the voices of the people, and to be made their decree, at a time
when the assembly was actually adjourned, when I was absent (else I
never should have suffered it), and when the people were dismissed
from their attendance. The purport of the resolution was this: “That
the ieromnemon and pylagorae, who should at any time be deputed by the
Athenians to execute these offices, should repair to Thermopylae and
to Delphi, at the times appointed by our ancestors.” This was
speciously expressed, but it concealed the basest purpose, which
was, to prevent our deputies from attending the extraordinary
council at Thermopylae, necessary to be held before the next stated
day of assembly.

But there was another clause in this resolution still plainer and
more virulent. It directed that the ieromnemon and pylagorae, who
should at any time be appointed by the Athenians, were to have no sort
of intercourse with this extraordinary council, either in word, or
deed, or decree, or any transaction whatever. “To have no sort of
intercourse.” What is the intent of this? Shall I declare the truth?
or shall I speak to please you? The truth, by all means: for by
consulting only your gratification in all that is here delivered
hath the state been reduced to its present condition. The real
purpose, therefore, of this clause is, that we should renounce all
regard to the oath by which our ancestors were engaged, to the awful
imprecation, and to the oracles of the god.

Agreeably to this resolution we stayed at home, while all the
other deputies assembled at Thermopylae, except those of one people,
whose name I cannot bear to mention: (and never may any Grecian
state suffer calamities in the least like theirs!) in this assembly it
was resolved to undertake a war against the Amphissaeans; and
Cattyphus the Pharsalian, who then presided in the assembly, was
appointed general. Nor was Philip at this time in Macedon; no, nor
in any part of Greece, but removed as far as Scythia; he who
Demosthenes presumes to say was by me brought down on the Greeks. In
the first expedition, when the Amphissaeans were at their mercy,
they treated them with the utmost moderation; and, for their most
heinous offences, they only imposed a fine, which was to be paid to
the god by a time appointed; removed the most notoriously criminal and
principal authors of the sacrilege, and restored those who had been
banished on account of their scrupulous regard to religion. But when
this fine was not discharged, when the principal offenders were
recalled home, and the innocent and religious men whom the Amphictyons
had restored were once more expelled; then was the second expedition
made against the Amphissaeans, a considerable time after, when
Philip was on his return from the Scythian expedition. And now, when
the gods presented you with the sovereign command in this holy war, by
the corruption of Demosthenes were you deprived of that honor.

And did not the gods warn us of our danger? did they not urge the
necessity of vigilance in a language scarcely less explicit than
that of man? Surely never was a state more evidently protected by
the gods, and more notoriously ruined by its popular leaders. Were
we not sufficiently alarmed by that portentous incident in the
mysteries, the sudden death of the initiated? Did not Amyniades
still further warn us of our danger, and urge us to send deputies to
Delphi to consult the god? And did not Demosthenes oppose this design?
did he not say the Pythian priestess was inspired *(13) by Philip?
rude and brutal as he is; insolently presuming on that full power to
which your favor raised him. And did he not at last, without one
propitious sacrifice, one favorable omen, to assure us of success,
send out our armies to manifest and inevitable danger? Yet he lately
presumed to say that Philip did not venture to march into our
territories; for this very reason, because his sacrifices had not been
propitious. What punishment therefore is due to thy offences, thou
pest of Greece? If the conqueror was prevented from invading the
territories of the vanquished by unpropitious sacrifices, shouldst
thou, who, without the least attention to futurity, without one
favorable omen, hast sent our armies to the field- shouldst thou be
honored with a crown for those calamities in which thou hast
involved the state, or driven from our borders with ignominy?

And what can be conceived surprising or extraordinary that we have
not experienced? Our lives have not passed in the usual and natural
course of human affairs: no, we were born to be an object of
astonishment to posterity. Do we not see the King of Persia, he who
opened a passage for his navy through Mount Athos, who stretched his
bridge across the Hellespont, who demanded earth and water from the
Greeks; he who in his letters presumed to style himself sovereign of
mankind from the rising to the setting sun; now no longer contending
to be lord over others, but to secure his personal safety? Do not we
see those crowned with honor, and ennobled with the command of the war
against Persia, who rescued the Delphian temple from sacrilegious
hands? Hath not Thebes, our neighboring state, been in one day torn
from the midst of Greece? And, although this calamity may justly be
imputed to her own pernicious councils, yet we are not to ascribe such
infatuation to any natural causes, but to the fatal influence of
some evil genius. Are not the Lacedaemonians, those wretched men,
who had but once slightly interfered in the sacrilegious outrage on
the temple, who in their day of power aspired to the sovereignty of
Greece, now reduced to display their wretchedness to the world by
sending hostages to Alexander, ready to submit to that fate which he
shall pronounce on themselves and on their country; to those terms
which a conqueror, and an incensed conqueror, shall vouchsafe to
grant? And is not this our state, the common refuge of the Greeks,
once the great resort of all the ambassadors from the several
cities, sent to implore our protection as their sure resource, now
obliged to contend, not for sovereign authority, but for our native
land? And to these circumstances have we been gradually reduced from
that time when Demosthenes first assumed the administration. Well doth
the poet Hesiod pronounce on such men, in one part of his works, where
he points out the duty of citizens, and warns all societies to guard
effectually against evil ministers, I shall repeat his words; for I
presume we treasured up the sayings of poets in our memory when young,
that in our riper years we might apply them to advantage.

“When one man’s crimes the wrath of Heaven provoke,
Oft hath a nation felt the fatal stroke.

Contagion’s blast destroys, at Jove’s command,
And wasteful famine desolates the land,
Or, in the field of war, her boasted powers
Are lost; and earth receives her prostrate towers.
In vain in gorgeous state her navies ride;
Dash’d, wreck’d, and buried in the boisterous tide.”

Take away the measure of these verses, consider only the
sentiment, and you will fancy that you hear, not some part of
Hesiod, but a prophecy of the administration of Demosthenes; for
true it is, that both fleets and armies, and whole cities have been
completely destroyed by his administration; and, in my opinion,
neither Phryrondas, nor Eurybatus, nor any of those most distinguished
by their villanies in former times have been equal to this man in
the arts of imposture and deceit; this man, who (hear it, O earth!
hear it all ye gods, and all of human race who have the least regard
to truth!) dares to meet the eyes of his fellow-citizens, and
shamelessly assert that the Thebans were induced to the confederacy
with us, not by the conjuncture of their affairs, not by the terror
which possessed them, nor yet by our reputation; but by the
negotiations of Demosthenes. True it is, that before this time we sent
many ambassadors to Thebes, all of them united with that state in
the strictest connections. First we sent our general Thrasybulus, a
man highest above all others in the confidence of the Thebans; after
him Thraso, on whom the Thebans conferred the honors of hospitality;
then again Leodamas, nothing inferior to Demosthenes in the powers
of eloquence, and in my opinion a much more pleasing speaker;
Archidemus, another powerful speaker, whose attachment to Thebes had
exposed him to considerable danger; Aristophon, the popular leader,
who had long incurred the censure of being in his heart a Boeotian.
Add to these Pyrandrus, the public speaker, who is yet alive. And
yet not one of these was ever able to prevail on them to unite in
alliance with our state. I know the cause; but I must not insult their
calamities. The truth is (as I conceive), that when Philip had wrested
Nicaea from them, and delivered it to the Thessalians; when he had
transferred the war from Phocis to the very walls of Thebes, that
war which he had before repelled from the territories of Boeotia;
and when, to crown all, he had seized, and fortified, and fixed his
garrison in Elataea, then did their fears of approaching ruin force
them to apply to Athens; and then did you march out and appear at
Thebes, with all your power, both of infantry and cavalry, before
Demosthenes had ever proposed one syllable about an alliance. For it
was the times, the present terror, and the necessity of uniting with
you, which then brought you to Thebes; not Demosthenes.

And let it be observed that in these his negotiations he committed
three capital offences against the state. In the first place, when
Philip made war on us only in name, but in reality pointed all his
resentment against Thebes (as appears sufficiently from the event, and
needs not any farther evidence), he insidiously concealed this, of
which it so highly concerned us to be informed; and pretending that
the alliance now proposed was not the effect of the present
conjuncture, but of his negotiations, he first prevailed on the people
not to debate about conditions, but to be satisfied that the
alliance was formed on any terms; and having secured this point, he
gave up all Boeotia to the power of Thebes, by inserting this clause
in the decree, that if any city should revolt from the Thebans, the
Athenians would grant their assistance to such of the Boeotians only
as should be resident in Thebes; thus concealing his fraudulent
designs in spacious terms, and betraying us into his real purposes,
according to his usual practice; as if the Boeotians, who had really
labored under the most grievous oppression, were to be fully satisfied
with the fine periods of Demosthenes, and to forget all resentment
of the wrongs which they had suffered. Then as to the expenses of
the war, two-thirds of these he imposed on us, who were the farthest
removed from danger, and one-third only on the Thebans; for which,
as well as all his other measures, he was amply bribed. And with
respect to the command, that of the fleet he indeed divided between
us; the expense he imposed entirely on Athens; and that of the land
forces (if I am to speak seriously I must insist on it) he
absolutely transferred to the Thebans; so that during this whole war
our general Stratocles had not so much authority as might enable him
to provide for the security of his soldiers. And here I do not urge
offences too trivial for the regard of other men. No: I speak them
freely; all mankind condemn them, and you yourselves are conscious
of them; yet will not be roused to resentment. For so completely
hath Demosthenes habituated you to his offences, that you now hear
them without emotion or surprise. But this should not be; they
should excite your utmost indignation, and meet their just punishment,
if you would preserve those remains of fortune which are still left to

A second and a much more grievous offence did he commit in
clandestinely taking away all authority of our Senate, all the
jurisdiction of our popular assembly, and transferring them from
Athens to the citadel of Thebes, by virtue of that clause which gave
the magistrates of Boeotia a share in all councils and transactions.
And such an uncontrolled power did he assume, that he rose publicly in
the assembly, and declared that he would go as ambassador, whither
he himself thought proper, although not authorized by your commission;
and if any of the generals should attempt to control him, he
declared (as a warning to our magistrates to acknowledge his sovereign
power, and as a means of accustoming them to implicit submission) that
he would “commence a suit for establishing the pre-eminence of the
speaker’s gallery over the general’s pavilion”; for that the state had
derived more advantages from him in this gallery than ever it had
gained from the generals in their pavilions. Then, by his false
musters in the contract for the foreign troops, he was enabled to
secrete large sums of money destined to the military service. And by
hiring ten thousand of these troops to the Amphissaeans, in spite of
all my remonstrances, all my earnest solicitations in the assembly, he
involved the state in the most perilous difficulties, at a time when
the loss of these foreign troops had left us unprovided to encounter
dangers. What, think you, was at this time the object of Philip’s most
ardent wishes? Was it not that he might attack our domestic forces
separately and our foreign troops at Amphissa separately, and thus
take advantage of the general despair into which the Greeks must
sink at such an important blow? And now Demosthenes, the great
author of these evils, is not contented that he escapes from
justice, but if he be denied the honor of a crown, expresses the
highest indignation; nor is he satisfied that this crown should be
proclaimed in your presence; but, unless all Greece be made witness of
his honors, he complains of the grievous injury. And thus we find that
when a disposition naturally base hath obtained any considerable share
of power, it never fails to work the ruin of a state.

I am now to speak of a third offence, and this still more heinous
than the others. Philip by no means despised the Greeks; was by no
means ignorant (for he was not devoid of all sense) that by a
general engagement he must set his whole power to the hazard of a day;
he was well inclined to treat about an accommodation, and was on the
point of sending deputies for this purpose; while the Theban
magistrates, on their parts, were alarmed at the approaching danger,
with good reason: for it was not a dastardly speaker who fled from his
post in battle that presented it to their thoughts, but the Phocian
War, that dreadful contest of ten years, which taught them a lesson
never to be forgotten. Such was the state of affairs, and
Demosthenes perceived it: he suspected that the Boeotian chiefs were
on the point of making a separate peace, and would receive Philip’s
gold without admitting him to a share: and deeming it worse than death
to be thus excluded from any scheme of corruption, he started up in
the assembly before any man had declared his opinion that a peace
should or should not be concluded with Philip, but with an intent of
warning the Boeotian chiefs by a kind of public proclamation that they
were to allow him his portion of their bribes: he swore by Minerva
(whom it seems Phidias made for the use of Demosthenes in his vile
trade of fraud and perjury), that if any man should utter one word
of making peace with Philip, he himself with his own hands would
drag him by the hair to prison: imitating in this the conduct of
Cleophon, who in the war with Lacedaemon, as we are informed,
brought destruction on the state. *(14) But when the magistrates of
Thebes paid him no attention, but, on the contrary, had
countermanded their troops when on their march, and proposed to you to
consult about a peace, then was he absolutely frantic: he rose up in
the assembly; he called the Boeotian chiefs traitors to Greece, and
declared that he himself would move (he who never dared to meet the
face of an enemy) that you should send ambassadors to the Thebans to
demand a passage through their territory for your forces, in their
march against Philip. And thus through shame, and fearing that they
might really be thought to have betrayed Greece, were the
magistrates of Thebes diverted from all thoughts of peace, and hurried
at once to the field of battle.

And here let us recall to mind those gallant men whom he forced
out to manifest destruction, without one sacred rite happily
performed, one propitious omen to assure them of success; and yet,
when they had fallen in battle, presumed to ascend their monument with
those coward feet that fled from their post, and pronounced his
encomiums on their merit. But O thou who, on every occasion of great
and important action, hast proved of all mankind the most worthless,
in the insolence of language the most astonishing, canst thou
attempt in the face of these thy fellow-citizens to claim the honor of
a crown for the misfortunes in which thou hast plunged thy city? Or,
should he claim it, can you restrain your indignation, and hath the
memory of your slaughtered countrymen perished with them? Indulge me
for a moment, and imagine that you are now not in this tribunal, but
in the theatre; imagine that you see the herald approaching, and the
proclamation prescribed in this decree on the point of being
delivered; and then consider, whether will the friends of the deceased
shed more tears at the tragedies, at the pathetic stories of the great
characters to be presented on the stage, or at the insensibility of
their country? What inhabitant of Greece, what human creature who hath
imbibed the least share of liberal sentiments, must not feel the
deepest sorrow when he reflects on one transaction which he must
have seen in the theatre; when he remembers, if he remembers nothing
else, that on festivals like these, when the tragedies were to be
presented, in those times when the state was well governed, and
directed by faithful ministers, a herald appeared, and introducing
those orphans whose fathers had died in battle, now arrived at
maturity, and dressed in complete armor, made a proclamation the
most noble, and the most effectual to excite the mind to glorious
actions: “That these youths, whose fathers lost their lives in
fighting bravely for their country, the people had maintained to
this their age of maturity: that now, having furnished them with
complete suits of armor, they dismiss them (with prayers for their
prosperity) to attend to their respective affairs, and invite them
to aspire to the highest offices of the state.”

Such were the proclamations in old times; but such are not heard
now. And, were the herald to introduce the person who had made these
children orphans, what could he say, or what could he proclaim? Should
he speak in the form prescribed in this decree, yet the odious truth
would still force itself on you; it would seem to strike your ears
with a language different from that of the herald: it would tell you
that “the Athenian people crowned this man, who scarcely deserves
the name of man, on account of his virtue, though a wretch the most
abandoned; and on account of his magnanimity, though a coward and
deserter of his post.” Do not, Athenians! I conjure you by all the
powers of Heaven, do not erect a trophy in your theatre to
perpetuate your own disgrace: do not expose the weak conduct of your
country in the presence of the Greeks: do not recall all their
grievous and desperate misfortunes to the minds of the wretched
Thebans; who, when driven from their habitations by this man, were
received within these walls; whose temples, whose children, whose
sepulchral monuments, were destroyed by the corruption of
Demosthenes and the Macedonian gold.

Since you were not personal spectators of their calamities,
represent them to your imaginations; think that you behold their
city stormed, their walls levelled with the ground, their houses in
flames, their wives and children dragged to slavery, their hoary
citizens, their ancient matrons, unlearning liberty in their old
age, pouring out their tears, and crying to you for pity; expressing
their resentment, not against the instruments, but the real authors of
their calamities; importuning you by no means to grant a crown to this
pest of Greece, but rather to guard against that curse, that fatal
genius which evermore pursues him: for never did any state, never
did any private persons, conduct their affairs to a happy issue,
that were guided by the counsels of Demosthenes. And is it not
shameful, my countrymen, that in the case of those mariners who
transport men over to Salamis, it should be enacted by a law, that
whoever shall overset his vessel in this passage, even
inadvertently, shall never be again admitted to the same employment
(so that no one may be suffered to expose the persons of the Greeks to
careless hazard); and yet that this man, who hath quite overset all
Greece, as well as this state, should be still intrusted with the helm
of government?

That I may now speak of the fourth period, and thus proceed to the
present times, I must recall one particular to your thoughts: that
Demosthenes not only deserted from his post in battle, but fled from
his duty in the city, under the pretence of employing some of our
ships in collecting contributions from the Greeks: but when,
contrary to expectation, the public dangers seemed to vanish, he again
returned. At first he appeared a timorous and dejected creature: he
rose in the assembly, scarcely half alive, and desired to be appointed
a commissioner for settling and establishing the treaty: but during
the first progress of these transactions you did not even allow the
name of Demosthenes to be subscribed to your decrees, but appointed
Nausicles your principal agent; yet now he has the presumption to
demand a crown. When Philip died, and Alexander succeeded to the
kingdom, then did he once more practise his impostures. He raised
altars to Pausanias, and loaded the Senate with the odium of
offering sacrifices and public thanksgivings on this occasion. He
called Alexander a margites, *(15) and had the presumption to assert
that he would never stir from Macedon: for that he would be
satisfied with parading through his capital, and there tearing up
his victims in search of happy omens. “And this,” said he, “I declare,
not from conjecture, but from a clear conviction of this great
truth, that glory is not to be purchased but by blood;” the wretch!
whose veins have no blood; who judged of Alexander, not from the
temper of Alexander, but from his own dastardly soul.

But when the Thessalians had taken up arms against us, and the young
prince at first expressed the warmest resentment, and not without
reason- when an army had actually invested Thebes, then was he
chosen our ambassador; but when he had proceeded as far as Cithaeron
he turned and ran back to Athens. Thus hath he proved equally
worthless, both in peace and in war. But what is most provoking, you
refused to give him up to justice; nor would you suffer him to be
tried in the general council of the Greeks: and if that be true
which is reported, he hath now repaid your indulgence by an act of
direct treason; for the mariners of the Paralian galley, and the
ambassadors sent to Alexander, report (and with great appearance of
truth) that there is one Aristion, a Plataean, the son of
Aristobulus the apothecary (if any of you know the man). This youth,
who was distinguished by the beauty of his person, lived a long time
in the house of Demosthenes: how he was there employed, or to what
purposes he served, is a matter of doubt, and which it might not be
decent to explain particularly: and, as I am informed, he afterward
contrived (as his birth and course of life were a secret to the world)
to insinuate himself into the favor of Alexander, with whom he lived
with some intimacy. This man Demosthenes employed to deliver letters
to Alexander, which served in some sort to dispel his fears, and
effected his reconciliation with the prince, which he labored to
confirm by the most abandoned flattery.

And now observe how exactly this account agrees with the facts which
I allege against him; for if Demosthenes had been sincere in his
professions, had he really been that mortal foe to Alexander, there
were three most fortunate occasions for an opposition, not one of
which he appears to have improved. The first was when this prince
had but just ascended the throne, and before his own affairs were duty
settled, passed over into Asia, when the King of Persia was in the
height of all his power, amply furnished with ships, with money, and
with forces, and extremely desirous of admitting us to his alliance,
on account of the danger which then threatened his dominions. Did
you then utter one word, Demosthenes? Did you rise up to move for
any one resolution? Am I to impute your silence to terror- to the
influence of your natural timidity? But the interests of the state
cannot wait the timidity of a public speaker. Again, when Darius had
taken the field with all his forces; when Alexander was shut up in the
defiles of Cilicia, and as you pretended, destitute of all
necessaries; when he was on the point of being trampled down by the
Persian cavalry (this was your language); when your insolence was
insupportable to the whole city; when you marched about in state
with your letters in your hands, pointing me out to your creatures
as a trembling and desponding wretch, calling me the “gilded
victim,” and declaring that I was to be crowned for sacrifice if any
accident should happen to Alexander; still were you totally
inactive; still you reserved yourself for some fairer occasion. But to
pass over all these things, and to come to late transactions. The
Lacedaemonians, in conjunction with their foreign troops, had gained a
victory, and cut to pieces the Macedonian forces from near Corragus;
the Eleans had gone over to their party, and all the Achaeans,
except the people of Pellene; all Arcadia also, except the Great City;
and this was besieged, and every day expected to be taken. Alexander
was at a distance farther than the pole; almost beyond the limits of
the habitable world: Antipater had been long employed in collecting
his forces; and the event was utterly uncertain. In this juncture,
say, Demosthenes, what were your actions? what were your speeches?
If you please I will come down, and give you an opportunity of
informing us. But you are silent. Well, then, I will show some
tenderness to your hesitation, and I myself will tell the assembly how
you then spoke. And do you not remember his strange and monstrous
expressions? which you (O astonishing insensibility!) could endure
to hear. He rose up and cried, “Some men are pruning the city; they
are lopping the tendrils of the state; they cut through the sinews
of our affairs; we are packed up and matted; they thread us like
needles.” Thou abandoned wretch! What language is this? Is it
natural or monstrous? Again, you writhed and twisted your body round
in the gallery; and cried out, as if you really exerted all your
zeal against Alexander, “I confess that I prevailed on the
Lacedaemonians to revolt; that I brought over the Thessalians and
Perrhibaeans.” Influence the Thessalians! Could you influence a single
village- you who in time of danger never venture to stir from the
city: no; not from your own house? Indeed, where any money is to be
obtained, there you are ever ready to seize your prey, but utterly
incapable of any action worthy of a man. If fortune favors us with
some instances of success, then indeed he assumes the merit to
himself; he ascribes it to his own address: if some danger alarms
us, he flies: if our fears are quieted, he demands rewards, he expects
golden crowns.

“But all this is granted: yet he is a zealous friend to our free
constitution.” If you consider only his fair and plausible discourses,
you may be deceived in this as you have been in other instances: but
look into his real nature and character, and you cannot be deceived.
Hence it is that you are to form your judgment. And here I shall
recount the several particulars necessary to form the character of a
faithful citizen and a useful friend to liberty. On the other hand,
I shall describe the man who is likely to prove a bad member of
society and a favorer of the arbitrary power of a few. Do you apply
these two descriptions to him, and consider, not what he alleges,
but what he really is.

I presume, then, it must be universally acknowledged that these
are the characteristics of a friend to our free constitution. First,
he must be of a liberal descent both by father and mother, lest the
misfortune of his birth should inspire him with a prejudice against
the laws which secure our freedom. Secondly, he must be descended from
such ancestors as have done service to the people, at least from
such as have not lived in enmity with them: this is indispensably
necessary, lest he should be prompted to do the state some injury in
order to revenge the quarrel of his ancestors. Thirdly, he must be
discreet and temperate in his course of life, lest a luxurious
dissipation of his fortune might tempt him to receive a bribe in order
to betray his country. Fourthly, he must have integrity united with
a powerful elocution; for it is the perfection of a statesman to
possess that goodness of mind which may ever direct him to the most
salutary measures, together with a skill and power of speaking which
may effectually recommend them to his hearers; yet, of the two,
integrity is to be preferred to eloquence. Fifthly, he must have a
manly spirit, that in war and danger he may not desert his country. It
may be sufficient to say, without farther repetition, that a friend to
the arbitrary power of a few is distinguished by the characteristics
directly opposite to these.

And now consider which of them agree to Demosthenes. Let us state
the account with the most scrupulous regard to justice. This man’s
father was Demosthenes of the Paeanian tribe, a citizen of repute (for
I shall adhere strictly to truth). But how he stands as to family,
with respect to his mother and her father, I must now explain. There
was once in Athens a man called Gylon, who, by betraying Nymphaeum
in Pontus to the enemy, a city then possessed by us, was obliged to
fly from his country in order to escape the sentence of death
denounced against him, and settled on the Bosphorus, where he obtained
from the neighboring princes a tract of land called “The Gardens,” and
married a woman who indeed brought him a considerable fortune, but was
by birth a Scythian; by her he had two daughters, whom he sent
hither with a great quantity of wealth. One of them he settled- I
shall not mention *(16) with whom, that I may not provoke the
resentment of too many; the other Demosthenes the Paeanian married, in
defiance of our laws, and from her is the present Demosthenes
sprung- our turbulent and malicious informer. So that by his
grandfather, in the female line, he is an enemy to the state, for this
grandfather was condemned to death by your ancestors; and by his
mother he is a Scythian- one who assumes the language of Greece, but
whose abandoned principles betray his barbarous descent.

And what hath been his course of life? He first assumed the office
of a trierarch, and, having exhausted his paternal fortune by his
ridiculous vanity, he descended to the profession of a hired advocate;
but having lost all credit in this employment by betraying the secrets
of his clients to their antagonists, he forced his way into the
gallery, and appeared a popular speaker. When those vast sums of which
he had defrauded the public were just dissipated, a sudden tide of
Persian gold poured into his exhausted coffers: nor was all this
sufficient, for no fund whatever can prove sufficient for the
profligate and corrupt. In a word, he supported himself, not by a
fortune of his own, but by your perils. But how doth he appear with
respect to integrity and force of elocution? Powerful in speaking,
abandoned in his manners. Of such unnatural depravity in his sensual
gratifications, that I cannot describe his practices; I cannot
offend that delicacy to which such shocking descriptions are always
odious. And how hath he served the public? His speeches have been
plausible, his actions traitorous.

As to his courage, I need say but little on that head. Did he
himself deny that he is a coward? Were you not sensible of it, I
should think it necessary to detain you by a formal course of
evidence; but as he hath publicly confessed it in our assemblies,
and as you have been witnesses of it, it remains only that I remind
you of the laws enacted against such crimes. It was the
determination of Solon, our old legislator, that he who evaded his
duty in the field, or left his post in battle, should be subject to
the same penalties with the man directly convicted of cowardice; for
there are laws enacted against cowardice. It may, perhaps, seem
wonderful that the law should take cognizance of a natural
infirmity; but such is the fact. And why? That every one of us may
dread the punishment denounced by law more than the enemy, and thus
prove the better soldier in the cause of his country. The man, then,
who declines the service of the field, the coward, and he who leaves
his post in battle, are by our lawgiver excluded from all share *(17)
in the public deliberations, rendered incapable of receiving the
honor of a crown, and denied admission to the religious rites
performed by the public. But you direct us to crown a person whom
the laws declare to be incapable of receiving a crown; and by your
decree you introduce a man into the theatre who is disqualified from
appearing there; you call him into a place sacred to Bacchus, who,
by his cowardice, hath betrayed all our sacred places. But that I
may not divert you from the great point, remember this: when
Demosthenes tells you that he is a friend to liberty, examine not
his speeches, but his actions; and consider not what he professes to
be, but what he really is.

And now that I have mentioned crowns and public honors, while it yet
rests on my mind, let me recommend this precaution. It must be your
part, Athenians, to put an end to this frequency of public honors,
these precipitate grants of crowns; else they who obtain them will owe
you no acknowledgment, nor shall the state receive the least
advantage; for you never can make bad men better, and those of real
merit must be cast into the utmost dejection. Of this truth I shall
convince you by the most powerful arguments. Suppose a man should
ask at what time this state supported the most illustrious reputation-
in the present days, or in those of our ancestors? With one voice
you would reply, “In the days of our ancestors.” At what time did
our citizens display the greatest merit- then or now? They were then
eminent; now, much less distinguished. At what time were rewards,
crowns, proclamations, and public honors of every kind most
frequent-then or now? Then they were rare and truly valuable; then the
name of merit bore the highest lustre; but now it is tarnished and
effaced; while your honors are conferred by course and custom, not
with judgment and distinction.

It may possibly seem unacountable that rewards are now more
frequent, yet that public affairs were then more flourishing; that our
citizens are now less worthy, but were then of real eminence. This
is a difficulty which I shall endeavor to obviate. Do you imagine,
Athenians, that any man whatever would engage in the games held on our
festivals, or in any others where the victors receive a crown, in
the exercises of wrestling, or in any of the several athletic
contests, if the crown was to be conferred, not on the most worthy,
but on the man of greatest interest? Surely no man would engage. But
now, as the reward of such their victory is rare, hardly to be
obtained, truly honorable, and never to be forgotten, there are
champions found ready to submit to the severest preparatory
discipline, and to encounter all the dangers of the contest.
Imagine, then, that political merit is a kind of game which you are
appointed to direct; and consider, that if you grant the prizes to a
few, and those the most worthy, and on such conditions as the laws
prescribe, you will have many champions in this contest of merit.
But if you gratify any man that pleases, or those who can secure the
strongest interest, you will be the means of corrupting the very
best natural dispositions.

That you may conceive the force of what I here advance, I must
explain myself still more clearly. Which, think ye, was the more
worthy citizen- Themistocles, who commanded your fleet when you
defeated the Persian in the sea-fight at Salamis, or this Demosthenes,
who deserted from his post? Miltiades, who conquered the Barbarians at
Marathon, or this man? The chiefs who led back the people from
Phyle? *(18) Aristides, surnamed the Just, a title quite different
from that of Demosthenes? No; by the powers of Heaven, I deem the
names of these heroes too noble to be mentioned in the same day with
that of this savage. And let Demosthenes show when he comes to his
reply, if ever a decree was made for granting a golden crown to
them. Was, then, the state ungrateful? No; but she thought highly of
her own dignity. And these citizens, who were not thus honored, appear
to have been truly worthy of such a state; for they imagined that they
were not to be honored by public records, but by the memories of those
they had obliged; and their honors have there remained from that
time down to this day in characters indelible and immortal. There were
citizens in those days, who, being stationed at the river Strymon,
there patiently enduring a long series of toils and dangers, and at
length gained a victory over the Medes. At their return they
petitioned the people for a reward; and a reward was conferred on them
(then deemed of great importance) by erecting three Mercuries of stone
in the usual portico, on which, however, their names were not
inscribed, lest this might seem a monument erected to the honor of the
commanders, not to that of the people. For the truth of this I
appeal to the inscriptions. That on the first statue was expressed

“Great souls! who fought near Strymon’s rapid tide,
And brav’d th’ invader’s arm, and quell’d his pride!
Eion’s high towers confess’d the glorious deed,
And saw dire famine waste the vanquish’d Mede;

Such was our vengeance on the barbarous host,
And such the generous toils our heroes boast.”

This was the inscription on the second:


“This, the reward which grateful Athens gives!
Here still the patriot and the hero lives!
Here let the rising age with rapture gaze,
And emulate the glorious deeds they praise.”


On the third was the inscription thus:

“Menestheus hence led forth his chosen train,
And pour’d the war o’er hapless Ilion’s plain.
‘Twas his (so speaks the bard’s immortal lay)

To form th’ embodied host in firm array.
Such were our sons! Nor yet shall Athens yield
The first bright honors of the sanguine field.
Still, nurse of heroes! still the praise is thine
Of every glorious toil, of every act divine.”

In these do we find the name of the general? No; but that of the
people. Fancy yourselves transported to the grand portico; for in this
your place of assembling, the monuments of all great actions are
erected full in view. There we find a picture of the battle of
Marathon. Who was the general in this battle? To this question you
would all answer, Miltiades. And yet his name is not inscribed. How?
Did he not petition for such an honor? He did petition, but the people
refused to grant it. Instead of inscribing his name, they consented
that he should be drawn in the foreground encouraging his soldiers. In
like manner, in the temple of the great Mother adjoining to the
senate-house, you may see the honors paid to those who brought our
exiles back from Phyle. The decree for these honors was solicited
and obtained by Archines, one of those whom they restored to the
citizens. And this decree directs, first, that a thousand drachmae
shall be given to them for sacrifices and offerings, a sum which
allowed not quite ten drachmae to each. In the next place, it
ordains that each shall be crowned with a wreath of olive, not of
gold; for crowns of olive were then deemed highly honorable; now,
those of gold are regarded with contempt. Nor was even this to be
granted precipitately, but after an exact previous examination by
the Senate into the numbers of those who had maintained their post
at Phyle, when the Lacedaemonians and the thirty had marched to attack
them, not of those who had fled from their post at Chaeronea on the
first appearance of an enemy. And for the truth of this let the decree
be read.

[The decree for honoring those who had been at Phyle.]


Compare this with the decree proposed by Ctesiphon in favor of
Demosthenes, the author of our most grievous calamities. Read.

[The decree of Ctesiphon.]

By this decree are the honors granted to those who restored our
exiles utterly effaced. It to confer the one was plaudible, to grant
the other must be scandalous. If they were worthy of their public
honors, he must be utterly unworthy of this crown. But it is his
purpose to allege, as I am informed, that I proceed without candor
or justice in comparing his actions with those of our ancestors. In
the Olympic games, saith he, Philamon is not crowned because he hath
excelled Glaucus, the ancient wrestler, but because he hath
conquered his own antagonists; as if you did not know that in these
games the contest is between the immediate combatants; but where
political merit is to be honored, the contest is with merit itself.
Nor can the herald at all deviate from truth when he is to make
proclamation in the presence of the Greeks. Do not, then, pretend to
say you have served the state better than Pataecion; prove that you
have attained to true and perfect excellence, and then demand honors
from the people. But that I may not lead you too far from the subject,
let the secretary read the inscription in honor of those who brought
back the people from Phyle.


“These wreaths Athenian gratitude bestows
On the brave chiefs who first for freedom rose,
Drove the proud tyrants from their lawless state,
And bade the rescued land again be great.”

That they had overturned a government repugnant to the laws- this is
the very reason here assigned for their public honors. For such was
the universal reverence for the laws at that time, that men’s ears
were perpetually ringing with this maxim, that by defeating
impeachments against illegal practices, our constitution was instantly
subverted. So have I been informed by my father, who died at the age
of ninety-five, after sharing all the distresses of his country.
Such were the principles he repeatedly inculcated in his hours of
disengagement. By him have I been assured, that at the time when our
freedom was just restored, the man who stood arraigned for any
violation of the laws received the punishment due to his offence
without respite or mercy. And what offence can be conceived more
impious than an infringement of the laws, either by word or action? At
that time, said he, such causes were not heard in the same manner as
at present. The judges exerted more severity against those who stood
impeached than even the prosecutor. It was then usual for them to
interrupt the secretary, to oblige him again to read the laws, and
to compare them with the decree impeached; and to pronounce their
sentence of condemnation, not on those only who had been convicted
of violating the whole tenor of the laws, but even on those who had
deviated from them in one single particle. But the present course of
procedure is even ridiculous. The officer reads the indictment; but,
as if it was an idle song or some trivial matter of no concernment
to them, the judges turn their attention to some other subject. And
thus, seduced by the wiles of Demosthenes, you have admitted a
shameful practice into your tribunals, and public justice is
perverted. The prosecutor is obliged to appear as the defendant
while the person accused commences prosecutor; the judges sometimes
forget the points to which their right of judicature extends, and
are forced to give sentence on matters not fairly cognizable on
their tribunals; and if the impeached party ever deigns to enter on
his defence, his plea is, not that he is innocent of the charge, but
that some other person equally guilty hath on some former occasion
been suffered to escape. And on this plea Ctesiphon relies with
greatest confidence, as I am informed.

Your citizen Aristophon once dared to boast that fifty-five times
had he been prosecuted for illegal decrees, and as many times had he
escaped. Not so Cephalus, our old minister- he whom we deemed the most
zealously attached to the constitution. He, on the contrary, accounted
it his greatest glory, that although he had proposed more decrees than
any other citizen, yet had he been not once obliged to defend
himself against an impeachment. And this was really matter of triumph;
for in his days prosecutions were commenced, not by the partisans of
opposite factions against each other, but by friends against
friends, in every case in which the state was injured. To produce an
instance of this: Archimus commenced a prosecution against Thrasybulus
on account of a decree for crowning one of those who had returned from
Phyle, which in some circumstances was repugnant to the laws; and,
notwithstanding his late important services, sentence was pronounced
against him. These were not at all regarded by the judges. It was
their principle, that as Thrasybulus had once restored our exiles,
so he in effect drove his fellow-citizens into exile by proposing
any one act repugnant to the laws. But now we have quite different
sentiments. Now, our generals of character, our citizens whose
services have been rewarded by public maintenance, *(19) exert their
interest to suppress impeachments; and in this they must be deemed
guilty of the utmost ingratitude. For the man who hath been honored by
the state, a state which owes its being only to the gods and to the
laws, and yet presumes to support those who violate the laws, in
effect subverts that government by which his honors were conferred.

Here, then, I shall explain how far a citizen may honestly and
regularly proceed in pleading for an offender. When an impeachment for
illegal practices is to be tried in the tribunal, the day of hearing
is divided into three parts: the first part is assigned to the
prosecutor, to the laws, and to the constitution; the second is
granted to the accused and to his assistants. If, then, sentence of
acquittal be not passed on the first question, a third portion is
assigned for the consideration of the fine, and for adjusting the
degree of your resentment. He then who petitions for your vote when
the fine is to be considered, petitions only against the rigor of your
resentment; but he who petitions for your vote on the first question
petitions you to give up your oath, to give up the law, to give up the
constitution- a favor which it is impious to ask- which, if asked,
it is impious to grant. Tell these interceders, then, that they are to
leave you at full liberty to decide the first question agreeably to
the laws. Let them reserve their eloquence for the question relative
to the fine.

On the whole, Athenians, I am almost tempted to declare, that a
law should be enacted solely respecting impeachments for illegal
proceedings; that neither the prosecutor nor the accused should ever
be allowed the assistance of advocates; for the merits of such
causes are not vague and undetermined. No; they are accurately defined
by your laws. As in architecture, when we would be assured whether any
part stand upright or no, we apply the rule by which it is
ascertained; so in these impeachments we have a rule provided in the
record of the prosecution, in the decree impeached, and in the laws
with which it is compared. Show, then, in the present case, that these
last are consonant to each other, and you are at once acquitted.
What need you call on Demosthenes? But if you evade the equitable
method of defence, and call to your assistance a man practised in
craft, in all the wiles of speaking, you then abuse the attention of
your judges, you injure the state, you subvert the constitution.

It must be my part effectually to guard you against such evasion.
When Ctesiphon rises up and begins with repeating the fine
introduction composed for him; when he winds through his solemn
periods without ever coming to the great point of his defence; then
remind him calmly and quietly to take up the record of his
impeachment, and compare his decree with the laws. Should he pretend
not to hear you, do you too refuse to hear him; for you are here
convened to attend, not to those who would evade the just methods of
defence, but to the men who defend their cause fairly and regularly.
And should he still decline the legal and equitable defence, and
call on Demosthenes to plead for him, my first request is, that you
would not at all admit an insidious advocate, who thinks to subvert
the laws by his harangues: that when Ctesiphon asks whether he shall
call Demosthenes, no man should esteem it meritorious to be the
first to cry, “Call him, call him.” If you call him, against
yourselves you call him; against the laws you call him; against the
constitution you call him. Or if you resolve to hear him, I then
request that Demosthenes may be confined to the same method in his
defence which I have pursued in this my charge. And what method have I
pursued? That I may assist your memories, observe that I have not
begun with the private life of Demosthenes; that I have not introduced
my prosecution with a detail of misdemeanors in his public conduct;
although I could not want various and numberless instances to urge,
unless I were totally inexperienced in affairs. Instead of this, I
first produced the laws which directly forbid any man to be crowned
whose accounts are not yet passed: I then proved that Ctesiphon had
proposed a decree for granting a crown to Demosthenes while his
accounts yet remained to be passed, without any qualifying clause,
or any such addition as, “when his accounts shall first have been
approved”; but in open and avowed contempt of you and of the laws. I
mentioned also the pretences to be alleged for this procedure, and
then recited the laws relative to proclamations, in which it is
directly enacted, that no crown shall be proclaimed in any other place
but in the assembly only; so that the defendant has not only
proposed a decree repugnant in general to the laws, but has
transgressed in the circumstances of time and place, by directing
the proclamation to be made, not in the assembly, but in the
theatre; not when the people were convened; not when the tragedies
were to be presented. From these points I proceeded to take some
notice of his private life; but chiefly I insist on his public

It is your part to oblige Demosthenes to the same method in his
defence. First, let him speak of the laws relative to magistrates
yet accountable to the public; then of those which regard
proclamations; and thirdly, which is the point of greatest moment, let
him prove that he is worthy of this honor; and should he supplicate to
be allowed his own method; and should he promise to conclude his
defence with obviating the charge of illegality; grant him not this
indulgence; know that in this he means to engage in a trial of skill
with this tribunal. It is not his intention to return at any time to
this great point; but as it is a point he can by no means obviate by
any equitable plea, he would divert your attention to other matters,
that so you may forget the grand article of this impeachment. But as
in athletic contests you see the wrestlers struggling with each
other for the advantage of situation, so, in this contest for the
state and for the method of his pleading, exert the most incessant and
obstinate efforts. Suffer him not to wander from the great article
of “illegality”; confine him, watch him, drive him to the point in
question; and be strictly guarded against the evasive windings of
his harangue.

Should you decline this strict and regular examination of the cause,
it is but just that I warn you of the consequences. The impeached
party will produce that vile impostor, that robber, that plunderer
of the public. He can weep with greater ease than others laugh; and
for perjury is of all mankind the most ready. Nor shall I be surprised
if he should suddenly change his wailings to the most virulent abuse
of those who attend the trial; if he should declare that the notorious
favorers of oligarchical power are, to a man, ranged on the side of
the accuser, and that the friends of liberty appear as friends to
the defendant. But should he thus allege, his seditious insolence
may be at once confounded by the following reply: “If those citizens
who brought back the people from their exile in Phyle had been like
you, Demosthenes, our free constitution had never been established;
but they, when the most dreadful calamities were impending, saved
the state by pronouncing one single word- an amnesty (that noble word,
the genuine dictate of wisdom); while you tear open the wounds of your
country, and discover more solicitude for the composition of your
harangues than for the interest of the state.”

When this perjured man comes to demand credit to his oaths, remind
him of this, that he who hath frequently sworn falsely, and yet
expects to be believed on his oath, should be favored by one of
these two circumstances, of which Demosthenes finds neither- his
gods must be new, or his auditors different. As to his tears, as to
his passionate exertions of voice, when he cries out, “Whither shall I
fly, ye men of Athens? You banish me from the city, and, alas! I
have no place of refuge,” let this be your reply, “And where shall the
people find refuge? What provision of allies? What treasures are
prepared? What resources hath your administration secured? We all
see what precautions you have taken for your own security; you who
have left the city, not, as you pretend, to take up your residence
in the Piraeus, but to seize the first favorable moment of flying from
your country; you, who, to quiet all your dastardly fears, have
ample provisions secured in the gold of Persia, and all the bribes
of your administration.” But, after all, why these tears? why these
exclamations? why this vehemence? Is it not Ctesiphon who stands
impeached? and in a cause where judges are at liberty to moderate
his punishment? You are not engaged in any suit by which either your
fortune, or your person, or your reputation may be affected. For what,
then, doth he express all this solicitude? for golden crowns; for
proclamations in the theatre, expressly forbidden by the law. The
man who, if the people could be so infatuated, if they could have so
completely lost all memory as to grant him any such honor at a
season so improper, should rise in the assembly and say, “Ye men of
Athens, I accept the crown, but approve not of the time appointed
for the proclamation. While the city wears the habit of a mourner, let
not me be crowned for the causes of her sorrow.” This would be the
language of a truly virtuous man. You speak the sentiments of an
accursed wretch, the malignant enemy of all goodness. And let no man
conceive the least fear (no, by Hercules, it is not to be feared!)
that this Demosthenes, this generous spirit, this distinguished hero
in war, if disappointed of these honors, shall retire and despatch
himself; he who holds your esteem in such sovereign contempt, that
he hath a thousand times gashed that accursed head, that head which
yet stands accountable to the state, which this man hath proposed to
crown in defiance of all law; he who hath made a trade of such
practices, by commencing suits for wounds inflicted by himself; who is
so completely battered, that the fury of Midias still remains
imprinted on his head: head, did I call it? No, it is his estate.

With respect to Ctesiphon, the author of this decree, let me mention
some few particulars. I pass over many things that might be urged,
proposedly to try whether you can of yourselves and without
direction mark out the men of consummate iniquity. I then confine
myself to such points as equally affect them both, and may be urged
with equal justice against the one and the other. They go round the
public places, each possessed with the justest notions of his
associate, and each declaring truths which cannot be denied. Ctesiphon
says, that for himself he has no fears; he hopes to be considered as a
man of weakness and inexperience; but that his fears are all for the
corruption of Demosthenes, his timidity, and cowardice. Demosthenes,
on the other hand, declares, that with respect to himself he hath full
confidence, but that he feels the utmost apprehensions from the
iniquity of Ctesiphon and his abandoned debauchery. When these,
therefore, pronounce each other guilty, do you, their common judges,
by no means suffer their offences to remain unpunished?

As to the calumnies with which I am attacked, I would prevent
their effect by a few observations. I am informed that Demosthenes
is to urge that the state hath received services from him, but in many
instances hath been injured by me; the transactions of Philip, the
conduct of Alexander, all the crimes by them committed, he means to
impute to me. And so much doth he rely on his powerful abilities in
the art of speaking, that he does not confine his accusations to any
point of administration in which I may have been concerned; to any
counsels which I may have publicly suggested; he traduces the
retired part of my life, he imputes my silence as a crime. And that no
one topic may escape his officious malice, he extends his
accusations even to my conduct when associated with my young
companions in our schools of exercise. The very introduction of his
defence is to contain a heavy censure of this suit. I have commenced
the prosecution, he will say, not to serve the state, but to display
my zeal to Alexander, and to gratify the resentment of this prince
against him. And (if I am truly informed) he means to ask why I now
condemn the whole of his administration, although I never opposed,
never impeached any one part of it separately; and why, after a long
course of time, in which I scarcely ever was engaged in public
business, I now return to conduct this prosecution?

I, on my part, am by no means inclined to emulate that course of
conduct which Demosthenes hath pursued; nor am I ashamed of mine
own. Whatever speeches I have made, I do not wish them unsaid; nor,
had I spoken like Demosthenes, could I support my being. My silence,
Demosthenes, hath been occasioned by my life of temperance. I am
contented with a little; nor do I desire any accession which must be
purchased by iniquity. My silence, therefore, and my speaking are
the result of reason, not extorted by the demands of inordinate
passions. But you are silent when you have received your bribe; when
you have spent it you exclaim. And you speak not at such times as
you think fittest- not your own sentiments- but whenever you are
ordered, and whatever is dictated by those masters whose pay you
receive. So that without the least sense of shame you boldly assert
what in a moment after is proved to be absolutely false. This
impeachment, for instance, which is intended not to serve the state,
but to display my officious zeal to Alexander, was actually
commenced while Philip was yet alive, before ever Alexander had
ascended the throne, before you had seen the vision about Pausanias,
and before you had held your nocturnal interviews with Minerva and
Juno. How, then, could I have displayed my zeal to Alexander, unless
we had all seen the same visions with Demosthenes?

You object to me that I speak in public assemblies, not regularly,
but after intervals of retirement, and you imagine it a secret that
this objection is founded on a maxim, not of democratical, but of a
different form of government. For in oligarchies, it is not any man
who pleases, but the man of most power that appears as prosecutor;
in democracies, every man that pleases, and when he pleases. To
speak only on particular occasions is a proof that a man engages in
public affairs, as such occasions and as the interests of the public
require: to speak from day to day shows that he makes a trade, and
labors for the profit of such an occupation. As to the objection
that you have never yet been prosecuted by me, never brought to
justice for your offences; when you fly for refuge to such evasions,
surely you must suppose that this audience hath lost all memory, or
you must have contrived to deceive yourself. Your impious conduct with
respect to the Amphissaeans, your corrupt practices in the affairs
of Euboea- some time hath now elapsed since I publicly convicted you
of these, and therefore you may, perhaps, flatter yourself that it
is forgotten. But what time can possibly erase from our memory, that
when you had introduced a resolution for the equipment of three
hundred ships of war, when you had prevailed on the city to intrust
you with the direction of this armament, I evidently proved your
fraud, in depriving us of sixty-five ships of this number; by which
the state lost a greater naval force than that which gained the
victory of Naxos over the Lacedaemonians and their general Pollis? Yet
so effectual were your artful recriminations to secure you against
justice, that the danger fell, not on you, the true delinquent, but on
the prosecutors. To this purpose served your perpetual clamors against
Alexander and Philip; for this you inveighed against men who
embarrassed the affairs of government; you, who on every fair occasion
have defeated our present interests, and, for the future, amused us
with promises. In that my last attempt to bring an impeachment against
you, did you not recur to the contrivance of seizing Anaxilus, the
citizen of Oreum, the man who was engaged in some commercial
transactions with Olympias? Did not your own hand inflict the
torture on him, and your own decree condemn him to suffer death? And
this was he under whose roof you had been received; at whose table you
ate and drank, and poured out your libations; whose right hand you
clasped in yours, and whom you pronounced your friend and host. This
very man you slew; and when all these points were fully proved by me
in the presence of the whole city; when I called you murderer of
your host, you never attempted to deny your impiety; no; you made an
answer that raised a shout of indignation from the people and all
the strangers in the assembly. You said that you esteemed *(20) the
salt of Athens more than the tables of foreigners.

I pass over the counterfeited letters, the seizing of spies, the
tortures for fictitious crimes, all to load me with the odium of
uniting with a faction to introduce innovations in the state. Yet
still he means to ask me, as I am informed, what would be thought of
that physician who, while the patient labored under his disorder,
never should propose the least advice, but when he had expired
should attend his funeral, and there enlarge on those methods which,
if pursued, would have restored his health. But you do not ask
yourself, what must be thought of such a minister as could amuse his
countrymen with flattery, while he betrayed their interests at such
junctures as might have been improved to their security; while his
clamors prevented their true friends from speaking in their cause; who
should basely fly from danger, involve the state in calamities the
most desperate, yet demand the honor of a crown for his merit,
though author of no one public service, but the cause of all our
misfortunes; who should insult those men whom his malicious
prosecutions silenced in those times when we might have been
preserved, by asking why they did not oppose his misconduct. If this
still remains to be answered, they may observe, that at the time of
the fatal battle, we had no leisure for considering the punishment due
to your offences; we were entirely engaged in negotiations to avert
the ruin of the state. But after this, when you, not content with
escaping from justice, dared to demand honors; when you attempted to
render your country ridiculous to Greece; then did I rise, and
commence this prosecution.

But, O ye gods! how can I restrain my indignation at one thing which
Demosthenes means to urge (as I have been told), and which I shall
here explain? He compares me to the Sirens, whose purpose is not to
delight their hearers, but to destroy them. Even so, if we are to
believe him, my abilities in speaking, whether acquired by exercise or
given by nature, all tend to the detriment of those who grant me their
attention. I am bold to say that no man hath a right to urge an
allegation of this nature against me; for it is shameful in an accuser
not to be able to establish his assertions with full proof. But if
such must be urged, surely it should not come from Demosthenes; it
should be the observation of some military man, who had done important
services, but was unskilled in speech; who repined at the abilities of
his antagonist, conscious that he could not display his own actions,
and sensible that his accuser had the art of persuading his audience
to impute such actions to him as he never had committed. But when a
man composed entirely of words, and these the bitterest and most
pompously labored- when he recurs to simplicity, to artless facts, who
can endure it? He who is but an instrument, take away his tongue,
and he is nothing.

I am utterly at a loss to conceive, and would gladly be informed,
Athenians, on what grounds you can possibly give sentence for the
defendant. Can it be because this decree is not illegal? No public act
was ever more repugnant to the laws. Or because the author of this
decree is not a proper object of public justice? All your examinations
of men’s conduct are no more, if this man be suffered to escape. And
is not this lamentable, that formerly your stage was filled with
crowns of gold, conferred by the Greeks on the people (as the season
of our public entertainments was assigned for the honors granted by
foreigners); but now, by the ministerial conduct of Demosthenes, you
should lose all crowns, all public honors, while he enjoys them in
full pomp? Should any of these tragic poets whose works are to succeed
our public proclamations represent Thersites crowned by the Greeks, no
man could endure it, because Homer marks him as a coward and a
sycophant; and can you imagine that you yourselves will not be the
derision of all Greece if this man be permitted to receive his
crown? In former times your fathers ascribed everything glorious and
illustrious in the public fortune to the people; transferred the blame
of everything mean and dishonorable to bad ministers. But now,
Ctesiphon would persuade you to divest Demosthenes of his ignominy,
and to cast it on the state. You acknowledge that you are favored by
fortune; and justly, for you are so favored; and will you now
declare by your sentence that fortune hath abandoned you; that
Demosthenes hath been your only benefactor? Will you proceed to the
last absurdity, and in the very same tribunals condemn those to infamy
whom you have detected in corruption; and yet confer a crown on him
whose whole administration you are sensible hath been one series of
corruption? In our public spectacles, the judges of our common dancers
are at once fined if they decide unjustly; and will you who are
appointed judges, not of dancing, but of the laws, and of public
virtue, confer honors not agreeably to the laws, not on a few, and
those most eminent in merit, but on any man who can establish his
influence by intrigue? A judge who can descend to this leaves the
tribunal after having reduced himself to a state of weakness, and
strengthened the power of an orator; for in a democratical state every
man hath a sort of kingly power founded on the laws and on our
public acts; but when he resigns these into the hands of another, he
himself subverts his own sovereignty; and then the consciousness of
that oath by which his sentence was to have been directed pursues
him with remorse. In the violation of that oath consists his great
guilt; while the obligation he confers is a secret to the favored
party, as his sentence is given by private ballot.

It appears to me, Athenians, that our imprudent measures have been
attended with some degree of lucky fortune, as well as no small danger
to the state; for that you, the majority, have in these times resigned
the whole strength of your free government into the hands of a few,
I by no means approve. But that we have not been overwhelmed by a
torrent of bold and wicked speakers is a proof of our good fortune. In
former times the state produced such spirits as found it easy to
subvert the government, while they amused their fellow-citizens with
flattery; and thus was the constitution destroyed, not by the men we
most feared, but by those in whom we most confided. Some of them
united publicly with the Thirty, and put to death more than fifteen
hundred of our citizens without trial; without suffering them to
know the crimes for which they were thus condemned; without
admitting their relations to pay the common rites of interment to
their bodies. Will you not then keep your ministers under your own
power? Shall not the men now so extravagantly elated be sent away duly
humbled? And can it be forgotten, that no man ever hath attempted to
destroy our constitution until he had first made himself superior to
our tribunals?

And here, in your presence, would I gladly enter into a discussion
with the author of this decree, as to the nature of those services for
which he desires that Demosthenes should be crowned. If you allege,
agreeably to the first clause of the decree, that he hath surrounded
our walls with an excellent intrenchment, I must declare my
surprise. Surely the guilt of having rendered such a work necessary
far outweighs the merits of its execution. It is not he who hath
strengthened our fortifications, who hath digged our intrenchments,
who hath disturbed the tombs of our ancestors, *(21) that should
demand the honors of a patriotic minister, but he who hath procured
some intrinsic services to the state. If you have recourse to the
second clause, where you presume to say that he is a good man, and
hath ever persevered in speaking and acting for the interest of the
people, strip your decree of its vainglorious pomp; adhere to facts;
and prove what you have asserted. I shall not press you with the
instances of his corruption in the affairs of Amphissa and Euboea. But
if you attempt to transfer the merit of the Theban alliance to
Demosthenes, you but impose on the men who are strangers to affairs,
and insult those who are acquainted with them, and see through your
falsehood. By suppressing all mention of the urgent juncture, of the
illustrious reputation of these our fellow-citizens, the real causes
of this alliance, you fancy that you have effectually concealed your
fraud in ascribing a merit to Demosthenes which really belongs to
the state. And now I shall endeavor to explain the greatness of this
arrogance by one striking example. The king, of Persia, not long
before the descent of Alexander into Asia, despatched a letter to
the state, expressed in all the insolence of a barbarian. His shocking
and unmannered license appeared in every part; but in the
conclusion, particularly, he expressed himself directly thus: “I
will not grant you gold; trouble me not with your demands; they
shall not be gratified.” And yet this man, when he found himself
involved in all his present difficulties, without any demand from
Athens, but freely, and of himself, sent thirty talents to the
state, which were most judiciously rejected. It was the juncture of
affairs, and his terrors, and his pressing want of an alliance which
brought this sum; the very causes which effected the alliance of
Thebes. You are ever sounding in our ears the name of Thebes, you
are ever teasing us with the repetition of that unfortunate
alliance; but not one word is ever suffered to escape of those seventy
talents of Persian gold which you diverted from the public service
into your own coffers. Was it not from the want of money, from the
want of only five talents, that the foreign troops refused to give
up the citadel to the Thebans? Was it not from the want of nine
talents of silver that, when the Arcadians were drawn out, and all the
leaders prepared to march, the whole expedition was defeated? But
you are in the midst of affluence, you have treasures to satisfy
your sensuality; and, to crown all, while he enjoys the royal
wealth, the dangers all devolve on you.

The absurdity of these men well deserves to be considered. Should
Ctesiphon presume to call on Demosthenes to speak before you, and
should he rise and lavish his praises on himself, to hear him would be
still more painful than all you have suffered by his conduct. Men of
real merit, men of whose numerous and glorious services we are clearly
sensible, are not yet endured when they speak their own praises; but
when a man, the scandal of his country, sounds his own encomium, who
can hear such arrogance with any temper? No, Ctesiphon, if you have
sense, avoid so shameless a procedure; make your defence in person.
You cannot recur to the pretence of any inability for speaking. It
would be absurd that you, who suffered yourself to be chosen
ambassador to Cleopatra, Philip’s daughter, in order to present our
condolements on the death of Alexander, king of the Molossi, should
now plead such an inability. If you were capable of consoling a
woman of another country in the midst of her grief, can you decline
the defence of a decree for which you are well paid? Or is he to
whom you grant this crown such a man as must be totally unknown,
even to those on whom he hath conferred his services, unless you
have an advocate to assist you? Ask the judges whether they know
Chabrias, and Iphicrates, and Timotheus. Ask for what reason they made
them presents and raised them statues. With one voice they will
instantly reply, that to Chabrias they granted these honors on account
of the sea-fight at Naxos; to Iphicrates, because he cut off the
detachment of Lacedaemonians; to Timotheus, on account of his
expedition to Corcyra; and to others as the reward of those many and
glorious services which each performed in war. Ask them again why they
refuse the like honors to Demosthenes; they will answer, because he is
a corrupted hireling, a coward, and a deserter. Crown him! would
this be to confer an honor on Demosthenes? Would it not rather be to
disgrace yourselves and those brave men who fell in battle for their
country? Imagine that you see these here, roused to indignation at the
thoughts of granting him a crown. Hard indeed would be the case, if we
remove *(22) speechless and senseless beings from our borders, such as
blocks and stones, when by accident they have crushed a citizen to
death; if in the case of a self-murderer we bury the hand that
committed the deed separate from the rest of the body; and yet that we
should confer honors on Demosthenes, on him who was the author of
the late expedition, the man who betrayed our citizens to destruction.
This would be to insult the dead, and to damp the ardor of the living,
when they see that the prize of all their virtue is death, and that
their memory must perish.

But to urge the point of greatest moment: should any of your sons
demand by what examples they are to form their lives, how would you
reply? For you well know that it is not only by bodily exercises, by
seminaries of learning, or by instructions in music, that our youth
are trained, but much more effectually by public examples. Is it
proclaimed in the theatre that a man is honored with a crown for his
virtue, his magnanimity, and his patriotism, who yet proves to be
abandoned and profligate in his life? The youth who sees this is
corrupted. Is public justice inflicted on a man of base and scandalous
vices like Ctesiphon? This affords excellent instruction to others.
Doth the judge who has given a sentence repugnant to honor and to
justice return home and instruct his son? That son is well warranted
to reject his instruction. Advice in such a case may well be called
impertinence. Not then as judges only, but as guardians of the
state, give your voices in such a manner that you may approve your
conduct to those absent citizens who may inquire what hath been the
decision. You are not to be informed, Athenians, that the reputation
of our country must be such as theirs who receive its honors. And
surely it must be scandalous to stand in the same point of view, not
with our ancestors, but with the unmanly baseness of Demosthenes.

How, then, may such infamy be avoided? By guarding against those who
affect the language of patriotism and public spirit, but whose real
characters are traitorous. Loyalty and the love of liberty are words
that lie ready for every man; and they are the more prompt to seize
them whose actions are the most repugnant to such principles.
Whenever, therefore, you have found a man solicitous for foreign
crowns, and proclamations of honors granted by the Greeks, oblige
him to have recourse to that conduct which the law prescribes; to
found his pretensions and proclamations on the true basis, the
integrity of his life, and the exact regulation of his manners. Should
he not produce this evidence of his merit, refuse your sanction to his
honors; support the freedom of your constitution, which is now falling
from you. Can you reflect without indignation that our Senate and
our assembly are neglected with contempt, while letters and
deputations are sent to private houses, not from inferior
personages, but from the highest potentates in Asia and in Europe, and
for purposes declared capital by the laws? That there are men who
are at no pains to conceal their part in such transactions; who avow
it in the presence of the people; who openly compare the letters; some
of whom direct you to turn your eyes on them, as the guardians of
the constitution; others demand public honors, as the saviours of
their country? While the people, reduced by a series of dispiriting
events, as it were, to a state of dotage, or struck with
infatuation, regard only the name of freedom, but resign all real
power into the hands of others: so that you retire from the
assembly, not as from a public deliberation, but as from an
entertainment, where each man hath paid his club and received his

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 honor 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 piratical 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
accessories 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 honors
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 chase, 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 harbor 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 you see the great benefactors of your country in this
place from whence I speak, arrayed against the villany of those men:
Solon, the man who adorned our free constitution with the noblest
laws, the philosopher, the renowned legislator, entreating 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 forbade 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
Plataea, and the very sepulchres of our ancestors, 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 teacheth 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.


To the Oration of Aeschines against Ctesiphon

*(1) In the original, “by the prytanes, nor by the proedri”; of
which officers some account has been already given in the introduction
to the first Philippic oration translated.

*(2) These any citizen might commence against the author of any
decree or public resolution which he deemed of pernicious tendency, or
repugnant to the established laws. The mover of any new law was also
liable to the like prosecution: and this was necessary in a
constitution like that of Athens, where all the decisions were made in
large and tumultuous assemblies. Here a few leaders might easily
gain an absolute authority, and prevail on the giddy multitude to
consent to any proposition whatever (if enforced by plausible
arguments), unless they were restrained by fear of being called to
account for the motions they had made, and the resolutions passed at
their instances.

{NOTES ^paragraph 5}

*(3) To perceive the whole force and artifice of this similitude,
the reader is to recollect that at the battle of Chaeronea Demosthenes
betrayed the utmost weakness and cowardice, a matter of great
triumph to his enemies, and a constant subject of their ridicule.

*(4) In the original, nomothetes tis: i.e. one of those who were
appointed to revise the laws, and to propose the amendment or
abrogation of such as were found inconvenient, as well as such new
laws as the public interest seemed to demand.

*(5) In the original, the thesmothetae: i.e. the six inferior
archons who were called by this general name, while each of the
first three had his peculiar title.
{NOTES ^paragraph 10}

*(6) There was scarcely any Athenian at all employed in public
business but had some sort of jurisdiction annexed to his office.
Inferior suits and controversies were thus multiplied, and found
perpetual employment for this lively, meddling people, who were
trained from their youth, and constantly exercised in the arts of
managing and conducting suits at law. This was their favorite
employment, and became the characteristic mark of an Athenian. “I
saw,” says Lucian, “the Egyptian tilling his ground, the Phoenician at
his traffic, the Cilician robbing, the Spartan under the lash, and the
Athenian at his lawsuit.” And this suggests the real value of that
compliment which Vergil is supposed to pay this people in that
well-known passage, “Orabunt causas melius.” Critics have discovered
in it dishonesty, affected contempt of eloquence, invidious detraction
from the merit of Cicero. And yet it seems to amount to no more than
an acknowledgment of their superior skill in legal forms and pleadings
and the arts of litigation.

*(7) Families so called from their founders, Eumolpus and Ceryx, who
had an hereditary right of priesthood.

{NOTES ^paragraph 15}

*(8) The strict import of the original expression is, my counsel, or
my advocate. So that, by a bold figure, the laws are represented as
personally present, supporting the cause of Aeschines, pleading on his
side, detecting the fallacy and prevarication of his adversary.

*(9) Not chosen by lot into the office of a senator, nor appointed
conditionally, to fill the place of another on whom the lot had
fallen, but who might die, or whose character might not be approved on
the scrutiny previously necessary to a citizen’s entering into any
public office or station.

*(10) The reader may not be displeased with the following account of
this transaction from Plutarch, together with the reflections of the
biographer: “Demosthenes, having received private information of
Philip’s death, in order to inspirit his countrymen, appeared in the
Senate with an air of gayety, pretending to have seen a vision,
which promised some good fortune to the Athenians. Immediately after
arrives an express with the full account of this event. The people
in a transport of joy sacrifice to the gods for the good tidings,
and decree a crown to Pausanias. On this occasion Demosthenes appeared
in public, with a chaplet on his head, and in splendid attire,
although it was but the seventh day from the death of his daughter, as
Aeschines observes, who discovers his own want of firmness and
elevation by reproaching him on this account as devoid of natural
affection. As if tears and lamentations were the infallible signs of
tenderness and sensibility, he objects to him that he bore his
misfortune with composure. I do not say that it was right to wear
chaplets and to offer sacrifices on the death of a prince who has used
his good fortune with so much moderation. It was rather base and
ungenerous to pay him honors, and to enrol him among their citizens,
when alive; and, when he had been killed, to break out into such
extravagances, to insult over his dead body, and to sing hymns of joy,
as if they themselves had performed some great exploit. But I can by
no means condemn Demosthenes for leaving it to the women to mourn over
the misfortune of his family, and exerting himself in what he deemed
the service of his country on this emergency.”
{NOTES ^paragraph 20}

*(11) In the original the “runner in the long race.” And whatever air of ridicule the speaker affects to throw on this accomplishment, the foot-race, it is well known, held a distinguished rank among the athletic exercises of Greece. The common course was a stadium, or six hundred and twenty- five feet. Sometimes the racers returned back again, performing what was called diaylos, or the double course. But the dolichodromos (as Diodorus is here styled) was the man who could continue career for twelve stadia, or more.

*(12) At the rate of about twelve per cent. per annum.

{NOTES ^paragraph 25}

*(13) Demosthenes expressed this by an artificial phrase, “the priestess Philippized,” on which the adversary founds his charge of rudeness and brutality.

*(14) After the battle of Cyzicum the Spartans offered to conclude a peace with Athens. Their ambassador proposed fair and equitable terms, and the moderate part of the state inclined to an accommodation. But the violent and factious leaders, among whom this Cleophon was distinguished, inflamed people’s vanity by a magnificent display of their late success (as if Fortune, says Diodorus, had, contrary to her usual course, determined to confine her favors to one party). And thus the majority were prevailed on to declare for war: and the event proved fatal.

*(15) A contemptible idiot. Immediately after the death of Philip, says Plutarch, the states began to form a confederacy, at the instigation of Demosthenes. The Thebans, whom he supplied with arms, attacked the Macedonian garrison, and cut off numbers of them. The Athenians prepared to join with Thebes. Their assemblies were directed solely Demosthenes, who sent despatches to the king’s lieutenants in Asia, to prevail on them to rise against Alexander, whom he called a boy, and a margites.

{NOTES ^paragraph 30}

*(16) The name which Aeschines suppresses from motives of policy Demosthenes has himself discovered in his oration against Aphobus, where he declares that his mother was daughter to this Gylon, and that her sister married Demochares. This passage must have escaped Plutarch, as he expresses a doubt whether the account here given of the family of Demosthenes be true or false.

*(17) The original expression imports “from the lustral vessels of our public place of assembling.” These vessels of hallowed water were placed at the entrance of their temples and the avenues of their forum, for the same purpose to which they are at this day applied in Popish churches. And it was a part of the religious ceremonies performed in their public assemblies, previously to all deliberation, to sprinkle the place and the people from those vessels.

{NOTES ^paragraph 35}

*(18) When Thrasybulus had expelled the thirty tyrants established by the Lacedaemonians in Athens, at the conclusion of the Peloponnesian War.

*(19) In the original, some of those who have their table in the Prytanaeum; the greatest honor which a citizen could receive for his public services. Such persons then had a natural authority and influence in public assemblies.

*(20) The expressions salt and tables were symbols of friendship, familiarity, and affection. So that this declaration imported no more than that any connections he had formed abroad were not to interfere with his duty and attachment to the state; a declaration which might well be justified. But his hearers either suspected his sincerity, or were violently transported by that habitual horror which they entertained of every violation of the rights of hospitality.

{NOTES ^paragraph 40}

*(21) To understand this, it must be observed that Themistocles, who built these walls, of which Demosthenes was charged with the repair, had ordered that the materials should be instantly collected from all places without distinction, public or private, profane or sacred. “Quod factum est,” says Cornelius Nepos. “ut Atheniensium muri ex sacellis sepulcrisque constarent.” Thus the speaker had a fair opportunity, not only for detracting from the merit of his rival, but for converting it a heinous crime; no less than that of violating those tombs of their ancestors which had made part of their fortifications.

*(22) Draco the lawgiver had enacted this law for exterminating even such inanimate beings as had occasioned the death of a citizen, in order, as it seems, to inspire a peculiar horror of homicide- the crime most to be guarded against among a people not yet completely civilized. And it may be proper to observe that Solon, who abolished the laws of Draco as too severe, meddled not with those which related to homicide, but left them in full force.

{NOTES ^paragraph 45}