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E L E G A N T E X TRA C T S.
ORATIONS, CHARACTERS, AND LETTERS.
§ 1. The first Oration against Philip:
pronounced in the Archonship of Aristodemus, in the first Year of the Hundred and Seventh Olympiad, and the ninth of Philip's Reign.
INTRODUCTION. ve have seen Philip opposed in his
of a power,
through Thermopylæ; and obliged to retire. The danger they had thus escaped deeply affected the Athenians. So daring an attempt, which was, in effect, declaring his purposes, filled them with astonishment: and the view
every day received new accessions, drove them even to despair. Yet their aversion to public business was still predominant. They forgot that Philip might renew his attempt; and thought they had provided sufficiently for their security, by posting a body of troops at the entrance of Attica, under the command of Menelaus, a foreigner. They then proceeded to convene an assembly of the people, in order to consider what measures were to be taken to check the progress of Philip. On which occasion Demosthenes, for the first time, appeared against that prince; and displayed those abilities, which proved the greatest obstacle to his
designs. At Athens, the whole power and ma.
nagement of affairs were placed in the people. It was their prerogative
to receive appeals from the courts of justice, to abrogate and enact laws, to make what alterations in the state they judged convenient; in short, all matters, public or private, foreign or domestic, civil, military, or religious,
were determined by them. Whenever there was occasion to deli
berate, the people assembled early in the morning, sometimes in the forum or public place, sometimes in a place called Pnyx, but most frequently in the theatre of Bacchus. A few days before each assembly there was a Προγραμμα or Placart fixed on the ftatues of some illustrious men erected in the city, to give notice of the subject to be debated. As they refused admittance into the assembly to all persons who had not attained the necessary age, so they obliged all others to attend. The Lexiarchs stretched out a cord dyed with scarlet, and by it pushed the people towards the place of meeting
Such as received the stain were fined; the more diligent had a small pecuniary reward. These Lexiarchs were the keepers of the register, in which were inrolled the names of such citizens as had a right of voting. And all had this right who were of age, and not excluded by a personal fault. Undutiful children, cowards, brutal debauchees, prodigals, debtors to the public, were all excluded. Until the time of Cecrops, women had a right of suffrage, which LI
they were said to have lost, on account still continued, out of respect to the of their partiality to Minerva, in her reasonable and decent purpose for dispute with Neptune, about giving a which the law was originally enacted. name to the city.
When a speaker has delivered his In ordinary cases, all matters were first sentiments, he generally called on an
deliberated in the senate of five hun. officer, appointed for that purpose, to dred, composed of fifty fenators chosen read his motion, and propound it in out of each of the ten tribes. Each form. He then sat down, or resumed tribe had its turn of presiding, and his discourse, and enforced his mothe fifty senators in office were called tion by additional arguments: and Prytanes. And, according to the num sometimes the speech was introduced ber of the tribes, the Attic year was by his motion thus propounded. When divided into ten parts, the four first all the speakers had ended, the people containing thirty-fix, the other thirty gave their opinion, by stretching out five days; in order to make the Lu-. their hands to him whose proposal nar ycar compleat, which, according pleased them moft. And Xenophon to their calculation, contained one reports, that, night having come on hundred and fifty-four days. During. when the people were engaged in an each of these divisions, ten of the fifty important debate, they were obliged Prytanes governed for a week, and to defer their determination till next were called Proedri: and, of these, day, for fear of confusion, when their he who in the course of the week hands were to be raised. presided for one day, was called the Porrexerunt manus, faith Cicero (pro Epistate: three of the Proedri being Flacco) & Pfephisma natum eft. And, excluded from this office.
to constitute this Pfephisma or decree, The Prytanes assembled the people: the fix thousand citizens at least were re
Proedri declare the occasion; and the quired. When it was drawn up, the Epiftatæ demand their voices. This name of its author, or that person was the case in the ordinary assem whose opinion has prevailed, was preblies: the extraordinary were con fixed: whence, in speaking of it, they vened as well by the generals as the call it his decree. The date of it Prytanes; and fometimes the people contained the name of the Archon, met of their own accord, without wait that of the day and month, and that ing the formalities.
of the tribe then presiding. The buThe affembly was opened by a sacrifice; finess being over, the Prytanes dis.
and the place was sprinkled with the miffed the afiembly. blood of the victim. Then an im 'The reader who chuses to be more miprecation was pronounced, conceived nutely informed in the customs, and in these terms: « May the gods pur
manner of procedure in the public “ sue that man to destruction, with allemblies of Athens, may consult the « all his race, who shall act, speak, Archælogia of archbishop Potter, Si" or contrive, any thing againit this gonins, or the Concionatrices of Arif« ftate!” This ceremony being tophanes. finished, the Proedri declared the oc. casion of the assembly, and reported HAD we been convened, Athenians! the opinion of the senate. If any on some new subject of debate, I had doubt arose, an herald, by commission waited, until most of the usual persons had from the Epiftatæ, with a loud voice, declared their opinions. If I had apinvited any citizen, first of thofe above proved of any thing proposed by them, I the age of fifty, to speak his opinion: should have continued filent: if not, I had and then the rest according to their then attempted to speak my sentiments
. ages. This right of precedence had But since those very points on which these been granted by a law of Solon, and speakers have oftentimes been heard al
. the order of speaking determined in, ready are, at this time, to be considered; tirely by the difference of years. In though I have arisen first, I presume I may the time of Demosthenes, this law was expect your pardon: for if they on former not in force. It is said to have been occasions had advised the necessary repealed about fifty years before the fures, ye would not have found it needful date of this oration. Yet the custom to consult at present.
First then, Athenians! these our affairs sentiments, he overturns whole countries; must not be thought desperate; no, though he holds all people in fubjection : fome, as their situation seems intirely deplorable. by the right of conqueft; others, under the For the most Mocking circumstance of all title of allies and confederates : for all are our past conduct is really the most favour. willing to confederate with those whom able to our future expectations. And they see prepared and resolved to exert what is this ? That our own total indo themselves as they ought. lence hath been the cause of all our pre And if you (my countrymen!) will now fent difficulties. For were we thus dif at length be persuaded to entertain the like treffed, in spite of every vigorous effortsentiments ; if each of you, renouncing all which the honour of our state demanded, evasions, will be ready to approve himself there were then no hope of a recovery.
an useful citizen, to the utmost that his In the next place, refled (you who have station and abilities demand; if the rich been informed by othera, and you who can will be ready to contribute, and the young yourselves remember) how great a power to take the field; in one word, if you will the Lacedemonians not long since pof- be yourselves, and banish those vain hopes feffed; and with what resolution, with what which every single person entertains, that dignity you disdained to act unworthy of while so many others are engaged in pubthe state, but maintained the war againit lic business, his service will not be rethem for the rights of Greece. Why do I quired; you then (if Heavon so pleases) mention these things ? That ye may know, thall regain your dominions, recal those that ye may see, Athenians! that if duly opportunities your supineness hath neg. vigilant, ye cannot have any thing to fear'; lected, and chaitise the infolence of this that if once remiss, not any thing can hap- man. For you are not to imagine, that, pen agreeable to your desires : witness the like a god, he is to enjoy his present then powerful arms of Lacedemon, which greatnets for ever fixed and unchangeable. a just attention to your intereits enabled No, Athenians! there are, who hate him, you to vanquish: and this man's late in- who fear him, who envy him, even among folent attempt, which our insensibility to all those seemingly the most attached to his our great concerns hath made the cause of cause. These are paslions common to manthis confusion.
kind; nor must we think that his friends If there be a man in this assembly who only are exempted from them. It is true thinks that we must find a formidable they lie concealed at present, as our indoenemy in Pkilip, while he views, on one lence deprives them of all resource. But hand, the numerous armies which attend let us shake off this indolence ! for you him; and, on the other, the weakness of see how we are situated; you see the outthe fate thus despoiled of its dominions; rageous arrogance of this man, who does he thinks justly. Yet let him reflect on not leave it to your choice whether you this: there was a time, Athenians! when thall act, or remain quiet; but braves you we possessed Pydna, and Potidæa, and Me- with his menaces; and talks (as we are thonè, and all that country round: when informed) in a strain of the highest exmany of those states now subjected to him travagance: and is not able to rest satisfied were free and independent; and more in- with his present acquisitions, but is ever in clined to our alliance than to his. Had pursuit of further conquests; and while we then Philip reasoned in the same manner, sit down, inactive and irresolute, incloses us " How shall I dare to attack the Atheni. on all fides with his toils, ans, whose garrisons command my ter
When therefore, O my countrymen! ritory, while I am destitute of all af- when will you exert your vigour ? When
fistance !" He would not have engaged roused by some event? When forced by in those enterprizes which are now crowned some neceflity ? What then are we to with success; nor could he have raised think of our present condition? To freehimself to this pitch of greatness. No, men, the disgrace attending on misconduct Athenians ! he knew this well, that all is, in my opinion, the most urgent neces. these places are but prizes, laid between fity. Or say, is it your sole ambition to the combatants, and ready for the con wander through the public places, each en queror: that the dominions of the absent quiring of the other, “What new advices?" devolve naturally to those who are in the Can any thing be more new, than that a feld; the pofleflions of the supine to the man of Macedon should conquer the Atheactive and intrepid. Animated by these nians, and give law to Greece ? “Is Philip
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