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industrious virtue. They lay claim to the rewards of activity, for their having enjoyed the pleasures of luxury. Yet none can be more lavish than they are, in praise of their ancestors. And they imagine they honour themselves, by celebrating their forefathers; whereas, they do the very contrary: for, as much as their ancestors were distinguished for their virtues, so much are they disgraced by their vices. The glory of ancestors casts a light, indeed, upon their posterity; but it only serves to show what the descendants
It alike exhibits to public view their degeneracy and their worth. I own, I cannot boast of the deeds of my forefathers; but I hope I may answer the cavils of the Patricians, by standing up in defence of what I have myself done.
Observe now, my countrymen, the injustice of the Patricians. They arrogate to themselves honours, on account of the exploits done by their forefathers; whilst they will not allow me the due praise for performing the very same sort of actions in my own person.
“He has no statues," they cry, “ of his family. He can trace no venerable line of ancestors.”—What, then? Is it matter of more praise to disgrace one's illustrious ancestors, than to becoine illustrious by one's own good behaviour ? What if I can show no statues of my family! I can show the standards, the armour, and the trappings, which I have myself taken from the vanquished. I can show the scars of those wounds which I have received by facing the enemies of my country. These are my statues. These are the honours I boast of
not left me by inheritance, as theirs; but earned by toil, by abstinence, by valour; amidst clouds of dust, and seas of blood;—scenes of action where these effeminate Patri. cians, who endeavour, by indirect means, to depreciate me in your esteem, have never dared to show their faces.
Demosthenes to the Athenians, exciting them to prosecute the
War against Philip. 'HEN I compare, Athenians, the speeches of some amongst us with their actions, I am at loss to reconcile what I see with what I hear. Their protestations are full of zeal against the public enemy; but their measures are so inconsistent, that all their professions become suspected. By confounding you with a variety of projects, they per.
plex your resolutions; and lead you from executing what is in your power, by engaging you in schemes not reducible to practice.
"Tis true, there was a time when we were powerful erough, not only to defend our own borders, and protect our allies, but even to invade Philip in his own dominions. Yes, Athenians; there was such a juncture; I remember it well. But, by neglect of proper opportunities, we are no longer in a situation to be invaders. It will be well for us, if we can provide for our own defence, and our allies. Never did any conjuncture require so much prudence as this. However, I should not despair of seasonable remedies, had I the art to prevail with you to be unanimous in right
The opportunities which have so often escaped us, have not been lost through ignorance, or want of judgement, but through negligence or treachery. If I assume, at this time, more than ordinary liberty of speech, I conjure you to suffer patiently those truths which have no other end but your own good. You have too many reasons to be sensible how much you have suffered by hearkening to sycophants. I shall, therefore, be plain in laying before you
the grounds of past miscarriages, in order to correct you
remember, it is not above three or four years since we had the news of Philip's laying siege to the fortress of Juno in Thrace. It was, as I think, in October, ke received this intelligence. We voted an immediate supply of threescore talents; forty men-of-war were ordered to sea; and so zealous we were, that, preferring the necessities of state to our very laws, our citizens above the age of five and forty years were commanded to serve. What followed ?-A whole year was spent idly without any thing done; and it was but in the third month of the following year, a little after the celebration of the feast of Ceres, that Charademus set sail, furnished with no more than five talents, and ten galleys not half manned.
A rumour was spread, that Philip was sick. That rumour was followed by another, that Philip was dead; and, then, as if all danger died with him, you dropped your preparations: Whereas, then-then was your time to push and be active; then was your time to secure yourselves, and confound him at once. Had your resolutions, taken with so much heat, been as warmly seconded by action, vou had been then as terrible to Philip, as Philip, recovered is now to you.--" To what purpose, at this time, these reflections ? What is done, cannot be undone."-But, by your leave, Athenians, though past moments are not to be recalled, past errors may be retrieved. Have we not, now, a fresh provocation to war? Let the memory of oversights, by which you have suffered so much, instruct you to be more vigilant in the present danger. If the Olynthians are not instantly succoured, and with your utmost efforts, you become assistants to Philip, and serve him more effectually than he can help himself.
It is not, surely, necessary to warn you, that votes alone can be of no consequence. Had your resolutions, of themselves, the virtue to compass what you intend, we should not see them multiply every day, as they do, and upon every occasion, with so little effect; nor would Philip be in a condition to brave and affront us in this manner. Proceed, then, Athenians, to support your deliberations with vigour. You have heads capable of advising what is best; you have judgment and experience to discern what is right; and you have power and opportunity to execute what you determine. What time so proper for action ? what occasion so happy? and when can you hope for such another, if this be neglected ? Has not Philip, contrary to all treaties, insulted you in Thrace? Does he not, at this instant, straiten and invade your confederates, whom you have solemnly sworn to protect? Is he not an implacable enemy-a faithless ally-the usurper of provinces to which he has no title nor pretence
Sa stranger, a barbarian, a tyrant? and, indeed, what is he not?
Observe, I beseech you, men of Athens, how different your conduct appears from the practices of your ancestors:—they were friends to truth and plain dealing, and detested flattery and servile compliance. By unanimous consent, they continued arbiters of all Greece, for the space of forty-five years, without interruption. A public fund, of no less than ten thousand talents, was ready for any emergency. They exercised over the kings of Macedon, that authority which is due to barbarians; obtained, both by sea and land, in their own persons, frequent and signal victories; and, by their noble exploits, transmitted to posterity an immortal memory of their virtue, superior to the reach of malice and detraction. It is to them we owe that great number of public edifices, by which the city of Athens exceeds all the rest of the world in beauty and magnificence. It is to them we owe so many stately temples, so richly embellished, but, above all, adorned with the spoils of vanquished enemies.—But visit their own private habitations; visit the houses of Aristides, Miltiades, or any other of those patriots of antiquity—you will find nothing, not the least mark or ornament, to distinguish them from their neighbours. They took part in the government, not to enrich themselves, but the public: they had no scheme or ambition, but for the public; nor knew any interest, but the public. It was by a close and steady application to the general good of their country, by an exemplary piety towards the immortal gods, by a strict faith and religious honesty betwixt man and man, and a moderation always uniform and of a piece, they established that reputation, which remains to this day, and will last to utmost posterity.
Such, O men of Athens! were your ancestors—so glorious in the eye of the world; so bountiful and munificent to their country; so sparing, so modest, so self-denying to themselves. What resemblance of these great men can we find in the present generation?. At a time when your ancient competitors have left you a clear stagewhen the Lacedæmonians are disabled; the Thebans employed in troubles of their own—when no other state whatever is in a condition to rival or molest you;-ip short, when you are at full liberty-when you have the opportunity and the power to become once more the sole arbiters of Greece;
you permit, patiently, whole provinces to be wrested from you; you lavish the public money in scandalous and obscure uses; you suffer
your allies to perish in time of peace, whom you preserved in time of war; and, to sum up all, you yourselves—by your mercenary court, and servile resignation to the will and pleasure of designing, insidious leaders—abet, encourage, and strengthen the most dangerous and formidable of your enemies. Yes, Athenians, I repeat it, you yourselves are the contrivers of your own ruin. Lives there a man who has confidence enough to deny it? Let him arise, and assign, if he can, any other cause of the success and prosperity of Philip.—"But," you reply, “what Athens may
” have lost in reputation abroad, she has gained in splendour at home. Was there ever a greater appearance of prosperity; a greater face of plenty? Is not the city enlarged? Are not the streets better paved, houses repaired and beautified ?"-Away with such trifles! Shall I be paid with counters? An old square new-vamped up! a fountain! an aqueduct! are these acquisitions to brag of? Cast your eye upon the magistrate under whose ministry you boast these precious improvements. Behold the despicable creature, raised, all at once, from dirt to opulence; from the lowest obscurity to the highest honours. Have not some of these upstarts built private houses and seats, vying with the most sumptuous of our public palaces ? And how have their fortunes and their power increased, but as the commonwealth has been ruined and impoverished?
To what are we to impute these disorders, and to what cause assign the decay of a state so powerful and flourishing in past times ?--The reason is plain. The servant is now become the master. The magistrate was then subservient to the people; punishments and rewards were properties of the people; all honours, dignities, and preferments, were disposed by the voice and favour of the people: but the magistrate, now, has usurped the right of the people, and exercises an arbitrary authority over his ancient and natural lord. You, miserable people!-the
—the meanwhile, without money, without friends, from being the ruler, are become the servant; from being the master, the dependant: happy that these governors, into whose hands
you have thus resigned your own power, are so good and so gracious as to continue your poor allowance to see plays.
Believe me, Athenians, if, recovering from this lethargy, you would assume the ancient freedom and spirit of your fathers—if you would be your own soldiers and your own commanders, confiding no longer your affairs in foreign or mercenary hands—if you would charge yourselves with your own defence; employing abroad, for the public, what you waste in unprofitable pleasures at home-the world might, once more,
you making a figure worthy of Athenians.—“ You would have us, then,” you say, do service in our armies in our own persons; and, for so doing, you would have the pensions we receive in time of peace, accepted as pay in time of war.
Is it thus we are io understand you ?”— Yes, Athenians, 'tis my plain meaning. I would make it a standing rule, that no person, great or little, should be the better for the public money, who should grudge to employ it for the public service.