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Against Timocrates

24.1I do not think, gentlemen of the jury, that even Timocrates can lay the blame of the present prosecution upon anyone else: he has brought it on himself. Moved by desire to deprive the State of a large sum of money, he has most illegally introduced a law which is both inexpedient and iniquitous. You shall presently learn in detail, if you will listen to me, in how many respects this law, if ratified, will be injurious and detrimental to the common weal; but there is one result, the most important and the most obvious that I can name, which I shall not hesitate to put before you. 24.2For it is the decision that you pronounce on oath on every question which is annulled and made worthless by the law proposed by the defendant; and his object is not any public benefit to the State,—that is impossible, for his law robs those Courts of Justice, which are the pillars of the constitution, of all power to impose the additional penalties attached by the laws to transgressions,—but that certain of those men who have long battened on your substance and pillaged your property may not even refund moneys which they were openly caught in the act of embezzling. 24.3Also it is so much easier to curry favour privately with certain persons than to stand up in defence of your rights that, while Timocrates has their fee in his pocket, and never introduced his law until he got it, I,so far from getting any reward from you, am risking a thousand drachmas in your defence.

24.4Now it is the common practice of those who take up any piece of public business to inform you that the matter on which they happen to be making their speeches is most momentous, and worthy of your best attention. But if that claim has ever been made with propriety, I think that I am entitled to make it now. 24.5For I suppose that no man living will attribute the prosperity of Athens, her liberty, her popular government, to anything rather than to the laws. Well, the question for you today is this: shall all the laws that you have enacted for the restraint of evil-doers be invalidated, and this law alone be valid; or shall this law be annulled and the rest allowed to remain? That, to put it in brief summary, is the issue that you have to determine today.

24.6But to forestall any surprise you may feel that I, who can claim to have hitherto lived a quiet life, should now be making my appearance in actions at law and public prosecutions, I desire to offer a brief explanation, which will not be irrelevant to the issue. Men of Athens, I once fell out with a worthless, quarrelsome, unprincipled fellow, with whom in the end the whole city also fell out,—I mean Androtion. 24.7By this man I was far more grievously wronged than Euctemon, inasmuch as Euctemon suffered the loss of some money, but I, if he had made good his attack upon me, should have lost my life as well as my property; indeed, even the common privilege of an easy exit from life would have been denied me. He accused me of a crime which a man of good feeling would be loath even to mention,—of having killed my own father; he concocted an indictment for impiety, and brought me to trial. At that trial he failed to get a fifth part of the votes of the jury, and was fined a thousand drachmas. I was deservedly acquitted, for which I thank first the gods, and secondly those of you who were on the jury; 24.8but the man who had wickedly brought me to that pass I accounted an enemy with whom I could make no terms. When I discovered that he had defrauded the whole commonwealth in the collection of the property-tax and in the manufacture of processional utensils, and that he held and refused to restore a great deal of money belonging to the Goddess, the Heroes, and the State, I proceeded against him with the aid of Euctemon, thinking it a favorable opportunity for doing the State a service, and at the same time getting satisfaction for the wrongs I had suffered. My purpose would naturally be that I should accomplish my desire, and that he should get his deserts. 24.9The facts were indisputable; the Council condemned him; the Assembly spent a whole day over the case; two juries, each a thousand-and-one strong, brought in their verdict; and then, when there was no subterfuge left by which you could be kept out of your money, this man Timocrates, with the most insolent contempt of the whole proceeding, proposes this law,—a law by which he robs the gods of their consecrated treasure and the city of her just dues, invalidates the judgements pronounced by the Council, the Assembly, and the Courts of Justice, and has given free licence to everybody to plunder the treasury. 24.10From all these wrongs we saw only one way of escape, that is, if we could abrogate the law by indicting it and bringing it before this court. I will therefore briefly recount the facts from the outset, in order that you may more readily grasp, and follow step by step, the manifold iniquities involved in the law itself.

24.11A decree was moved by Aristophon in the Assembly, appointing a commission of inquiry, and directing anyone, who knew of any sacred or public money in private hands, to give information to the commission. Thereupon Euctemon laid an information that Archebius and Lysitheides, who had served as naval captains, held property captured in a ship of Naucratis to the value of nine talents and thirty minas. He approached the Council, and a provisional resolution was drafted. Subsequently the Assembly met, and the people voted in favour of further inquiry. 24.12Then Euctemon stood up, and in the course of his speech told you the whole story: how the ship in question was taken by the galley that was conveying Melanopus, Glaucetes, and Androtion on their embassy to Mausolus, how the owners presented their petition, and how you voted that the goods were enemy property at the time of capture. He reminded you of the statutes by which in such circumstances the property belongs to the State. 24.13You all thought that what he said was just. Androtion, Glaucetes, and Melanopus sprang to their feet,—and here you may judge whether I am telling the truth,—made noisy, indignant, abusive speeches, exonerated the captains, admitted that the money was in their hands, and asked that the inquiry should proceed at their own houses. You listened to them; and, when their clamor had subsided, Euctemon offered a proposal, the fairest that could possibly be made, that you should demand payment from the captains, that they should apply in turn to the men in possession, and that any dispute as to liability should be adjudicated, the loser of such action to be indebted to the State. 24.14They challenge the decree; it is brought before this Court; and to cut the story short, it was held to be legal, and escaped condemnation. Now what should have been the sequel? The State should have got the money, and the embezzler should have been punished; but assuredly there was no need of any new statute whatsoever. So far no wrong had been done to you by Timocrates, the defendant in this case; but afterwards he took over responsibility for everything that I have recounted, and it will be shown that the whole of your injuries are due to him. He made himself the hired agent of the artifices and impostures of these men, and, by that offer of his services, as I will prove to your satisfaction, he took upon himself the burden of their iniquities. 24.15However, to begin with, I must remind you of dates, and of the conjuncture at which he proposed his new law; and indeed it will be apparent that he was impertinently laughing in your faces. It was the month of Scirophorion when those men lost the action they brought against Euctemon. Then they hired this man, and, without making the least preparation to satisfy your claim, they put up some newsmongers to tell people in the market-place that they were ready to pay the bare amount of the debt, but that they really could not afford to pay it twice over. note 24.16This was a mere manoeuvre, with banter thrown in—a device to divert attention from the enactment of this law. That it was so, we have the testimony of plain fact: all the time they never paid over a shilling of the money, while they disannulled most of the established laws by a single statute, and that the most disgraceful and scandalous ever enacted in your assembly.

24.17Before speaking of the law that I have indicted, I wish to give you a brief account of the existing statutes under which indictments of this kind are laid; for after hearing this account you will find the information useful for the rest of my speech. In our laws at present in force, men of Athens, every condition that must be observed when new statutes are to be enacted is laid down clearly and with precision. 24.18First of all, there is a prescribed time for legislation; but even at the proper time a man is not permitted to propose his law just as he pleases. He is directed, in the first place, to put it in writing and post it in front of the Heroes for everyone to see. Then it is ordained that the law must be of universal application, and also that laws of contrary purport must be repealed; and there are other directions with which I do not think I need trouble you now. If a man disobeys any of these directions, anyone who chooses is empowered to indict him. 24.19Now if Timocrates had not been liable to prosecution on every count, if he had not contravened every one of these directions when he introduced his law, a single charge, whatever it might be, would have been preferred against him; but, as the matter stands, I am compelled to take the points one by one and address you on each in its turn. I will therefore take his first offence first, that is, that he tried to legislate in defiance of all the statutes. Afterwards I will deal in turn with any other topic on which you are willing to hear me.—Please take the statutes,—here they are,—and read them.—You will find that he has not satisfied any one requirement. I ask your attention, gentlemen of the jury, to the statutes as they are read. 24.20Ratification of Laws

In the first presidency and on the eleventh day thereof, in the Assembly, the Herald having read prayers, a vote shall be taken on the laws, to wit, first upon laws respecting the Council, and secondly upon general statutes, and then upon statutes enacted for the nine Archons, and then upon laws affecting other authorities. Those who are content with the laws respecting the Council shall hold up their hands first, and then those who are not content; and in like manner in respect of general statutes. All voting upon laws shall be in accordance with laws already in force. 24.21If any law already in force be rejected on show of hands, the presidents in whose term of office the voting takes place shall appoint the last of the three meetings of the Assembly for the consideration of laws so rejected. The commissioners who preside by lot at the Assembly are required, immediately after religious observances, to put the question respecting the sessions of the Legislative Committee, and respecting the fund from which their fees are to be paid. The Legislative Committee shall consist of persons who have taken the judicial oath. 24.22If the Presidents do not convene the Assembly according to the written regulations, or if the commissioners do not put the question, each president shall forfeit one thousand drachmas of sacred money to Athena, and each commissioner shall forfeit forty drachmas of sacred money to Athena, and information thereof shall be laid before the Judges in such manner as when a man holds office being in debt to the treasury; and the Judges shall bring before the Court according to the law all persons against whom such information is laid; otherwise they shall not be raised to the Council of Areopagus, as obstructing the rectification of the statutes. 24.23Before the meeting of the Assembly any Athenian citizen who wishes shall write down the laws proposed by him and exhibit the same in front of the Eponymous Heroes, to the end that the People may vote on the question of the time allowed to the Legislative Committee with due regard to the total number of laws proposed. Whosoever proposes a new statute shall write it on a white hoard and exhibit it in front of the Heroes on every day until the meeting of the Assembly. On the eleventh day of the month Hecatombaeon the people shall elect from the whole body of citizens five persons to speak in defence of laws proposed for repeal before the Legislative Committee.

24.24These are all old-established laws, gentlemen of the jury; they have been repeatedly tested and found advantageous to you, and no man ever denied that they were well-conceived. Naturally; for there is nothing offensive or violent or oligarchical in their provisions; they order business to be done in a courteous, democratic spirit. 24.25In the first place, they entrusted to you citizens the decision whether a new law is to be introduced or the existing laws judged satisfactory. Then, if your vote is in favour of introduction, they did not order immediate enactment, but appointed the next assembly but one, and even at that assembly, they do not permit you to legislate, but only to consider the terms on which the Legislative Committee shall sit. In the intervening time they instructed persons wishing to introduce laws to exhibit them in front of the Heroes, so that anyone who chooses may inspect them, and, if he discovers anything injurious to the public interest, may inform you and have time to speak against the laws. 24.26Now, of all these rules the defendant Timocrates has not observed one. He never exhibited his law; he gave no one a chance to read it and oppose it; nor did he wait for any of the dates appointed by statute. The assembly at which your vote was taken fell on the eleventh of Hecatombaeon, and he introduced his law on the twelfth, the very next day, although it was a feast of Cronos and the Council therefore stood adjourned; for he had contrived, with the help of persons whose intentions are unfriendly to you, to get by decree a sitting of the Legislative Committee, on an excuse afforded by the Panathenian Festival. 24.27I wish to read to you the decree that was adopted on division, to show you that the whole business was managed by collusion, and nothing was left to chance.—Take the decree, sir, and read it to the jury.Decree

During the first presidency, namely, that of the Pandionid Tribe, and on the eleventh day of that presidency, it was moved by Epicrates that, in order that the sacrifices may be offered, that provision may be adequate, and that any lack of funds for the Panathenian Festival may be made good, the Presidents of the Pandionid Tribe do tomorrow set up a Legislative Committee, and that such Legislative Committee do consist of one thousand and one citizens who have taken the oath, and that the Council co-operate therewith in legislative business.

24.28Observe, as the decree is read, how ingeniously the man who drafted it, under a pretext of finance and the urgency of the Festival, cancelled the date fixed by statute, and put in his own date,—that they should legislate “to-morrow.” I protest that his intention was, not that something belonging to the Festival should be done as handsomely as possible, for in fact there was nothing left to be done, and no financial deficiency to be made good; but that this law of theirs, the subject of the present trial, might be enacted and come into force without any living man having wind of it beforehand or offering opposition. 24.29Here is the proof: when the Legislative Committee was in session, nobody introduced any law, good or bad, in respect of the business specified, that is, of financial provision for the Panathenian Festival, but this man Timocrates coolly and quietly proceeded to legislate about matters that lay outside the terms of the decree, and were forbidden by statute. He assumed that the date specified in the decree was more authoritative than the date prescribed by law; and, while you were all holidaymaking, and though there is a standing law that at such a time we shall do one another no wrong either in private or public life nor transact business that does not concern the Festival, he was not in the least afraid of making an exhibition of himself by doing wrong, not to this or that person, but to the whole community. 24.30Yet was it not outrageous that, well knowing that the statutes which you heard read just now were still in force, well knowing also that another law declares that no decree, even though in itself constitutional, shall have higher authority than a statute, he should draft and propose to you a new law, in virtue of a decree that, as he was fully aware, had been moved in defiance of the laws? 24.31Was it not atrocious that, when the State had granted to us individually security against any disagreeable or offensive treatment at that time, by declaring a religious holiday, the State itself should have obtained no such immunity from Timocrates, but, during that very holiday, should have been subjected to most grievous ill-treatment? How, indeed, could any private person ill-treat the State more gravely than by subverting the laws by which the State is administered?

24.32That Timocrates has done nothing that he ought to have done, nothing that the laws expressly enjoin, may be concluded from consideration of what I have already said; and before long you shall be satisfied, point by point, that he transgressed not merely in so far as he ignored the dates fixed by statute, and entirely annulled your right of deliberate consideration, by attempting to legislate during the holiday, but also in this respect,—that the law he introduced is inconsistent with all existing statutes.—But first take and read the statute I have here, which expressly forbids the introduction of any conflicting law, and authorizes an indictment if such a law should have been introduced. 24.33Law

It shall not he lawful to repeal any established law except at a Legislative Committee; and then any Athenian citizen may move for such repeal only on condition that he proposes a law to be substituted for the law so repealed. The Commissioners shall take a show of hands upon such laws, in the first instance upon the established law, whether it appear to be advantageous to the Athenian democracy or not, and afterwards upon the law proposed. And whichever law is approved on division by the Legislative Committee shall then be operative. It shall not be lawful to introduce any law contrary to existing laws; and if any person having repealed any existing law proposes in substitution another law that is either disadvantageous to the Athenian democracy or contrary to any established law, an indictment shall lie against him according to the law made and provided in the case of the proposer of a disadvantageous law.

24.34You have heard the law. Our city possesses many excellent laws, but in my judgement there is not one that has been framed in a more praiseworthy manner than this. Observe in what an equitable and thoroughly democratic spirit it is enacted. It forbids the introduction of anything repugnant to existing laws, except after abrogation of the law previously enacted. What is the purpose? First, to enable a jury to give a just and conscientious verdict; 24.35for, if there were two inconsistent laws, and if two litigants were contending in this court, whether in a public or a private dispute, and if each of them, by citing a different law, claimed your verdict, you could not of course give judgement in favour of both of them,—that is absurd,—nor could you give your verdict for either without breaking your oath, because such a decision contravenes the opposite law, which is equally valid. 24.36As a safeguard against such a dilemma the lawgiver made this provision in your interest. He also wished to make you the established guardians of the law, well knowing that the other safeguards provided by him may be evaded in many ways. The advocates note appointed by you, for instance, may be persuaded to hold their peace. He enjoined the exhibition of a proposed law that we may all have knowledge of it beforehand; but it may happen that it is unobserved by those who would oppose it if they knew in time, and that the rest read it without attention. 24.37But, it may be objected, it is open to anyone to indict the law, as I have done on this occasion. Well, even in that event the State is outwitted if a man gets the prosecutor to stand aside. What, then, is the only honest and trustworthy safeguard of the law? You, the common people. It is beyond the power of mortal man to take away from you the right to determine and to approve the best policy. No man, by getting you to stand aside, or by bribing you, can ever induce you to substitute a bad law for a good one. 24.38Therefore the lawgiver anticipates every avenue of iniquity, thwarting the plans and forbidding the advance of men whose intentions are hostile to you. All these precautions, so admirably and so righteously enacted, Timocrates has subverted and obliterated, so far as in him lay; he has introduced a law repugnant to all or nearly all the existing statutes, without reading any for comparison, without repealing any, without leaving you the right of choice, without taking any other of the steps that he was required to take.

24.39I suppose that you are all satisfied that he is amenable to the indictment, as having introduced a law that contravenes existing statutes; but, to show you the character of the laws he has contravened and of the law he has introduced, the clerk will read to you, first his new law, and then the other laws to which it is repugnant.Law of Timocrates

During the first presidency, namely, that of the Pandionid Tribe, and on the twelfth day of that presidency, it was moved by Timocrates that, if the additional penalty of imprisonment has been or shall hereafter be inflicted in pursuance of any law or decree upon any person in debt to the treasury, it shall be competent for him or for any other person on his behalf to nominate as sureties for the debt such persons as shall be approved by vote of the Assembly, on an undertaking to pay in full the amount in which he was indebted. The Commissioners are required to put the question whensoever any debtor wishes to nominate sureties. 24.40The debtor who has given sureties shall be released from the penalty of imprisonment on payment to the State of the money, in respect of which he gave such sureties; but if at the time of the ninth presidency neither he nor his sureties shall have paid in the money, the man who gave sureties shall be imprisoned and the property of the sureties shall be confiscated. But in the case of tax-farmers, their sureties, and their collectors, and of the lessees of leasable revenues and their sureties, the State may exact payment according to the established laws. If any man incur debt during the ninth presidency he shall pay in full during the ninth or the tenth presidency of the next ensuing year.

24.41You have heard the law, and I beg you to bear in mind this phrase, “if the additional penalty of imprisonment has been or shall hereafter be inflicted,” and also that he excepts from the operation of his law tax-farmers and lessees and their sureties. The law as a whole, but those provisions more especially, is contrary to all existing statutes. That you will recognize when you have listened to the actual laws.—Read. 24.42Law

Moved by Diocles: that laws enacted under democratic government before the archonship of Eucleides and all laws that were enacted during the archonship of Eucleides and are on record shall be in force. Laws enacted after the archonship of Eucleides or laws that shall hereafter be enacted shall be in force as from the day of their several enactment, unless a clause be appended defining the date of their first coming into force. The Clerk of the Council shall affix his mark to all laws now established within thirty days; and hereafter whosoever is acting as clerk shall forthwith make a note that the law is in force as from the date of enactment.

24.43The existing laws are excellent, gentlemen of the jury; but the law just read has defined them, if I may so put it, and given them new authority. It ordains that every statute shall be operative as from the date of enactment, unless any date is appended, and, in that case, that the specified date shall mark the beginning of its operation. The reason is that a clause had been appended to many statutes, to the effect that “this law shall be in force from the time of the next ensuing archon.” But the man who, to confirm such statutes, proposed the statute that has just been read, did not, in drafting his law at a later date, think it right to carry back to their dates of enactment those laws whose operation had been deferred to a date later than their enactment, and so make them operative earlier than their several authors intended. 24.44You must therefore observe how contrary to that statute is the law that Timocrates has proposed. The statute ordains that either the date specified or the date of enactment shall hold good; Timocrates writes, “if the penalty has been inflicted,” referring to past transactions. He did not even define the initial date by naming an archonship; nay, he has made his law operative not merely before the date of enactment, but before any of us were born, for he has included all past time without any limitation.—Your duty, Timocrates, was either not to compose your law, or to repeal the other one; you had no right to throw the whole business into confusion for the furtherance of your own purposes. Read another law. 24.45Law

. . . . nor in respect of disfranchised citizens, for restoration of their franchise, nor in respect of persons indebted to the Gods or to the treasury of the Athenians, for remission or composition of their debt, unless permission be granted by not less than six thousand citizens giving an affirmative vote by ballot. In that event it shall be lawful to put the question in such manner as the Council and the Assembly approve.

24.46Here is another law which forbids any proposal in respect of disfranchised or indebted persons, for remission or composition, to be made or put to the vote, except after permission granted, and that only if at least six thousand citizens have voted aye. But Timocrates expressly proposed that, if the additional penalty of imprisonment has been inflicted on any debtor, he shall have remission on production of sureties, without any preliminary resolution having been carried, or any permission granted for such a resolution. 24.47Even when a man has got his permission, the law does not allow him to do the business as he chooses, but as the Council and the Assembly approve. Timocrates was not satisfied with the simple transgression of making his proposal and introducing his law on the matters in question without permission granted; he went further and, without laying any proposition before the Council or before the Assembly, on the sly, when the Council stood adjourned, and everybody was holiday-making in honor of the festival, he brought in his bill surreptitiously.— 24.48Yet, if your intentions had been honest, Timocrates, knowing as you did the statute which I have read, it was your duty, first to make written request for audience before the Council, then to confer with the Assembly, and after that, if the whole body of citizens had approved, to compose and bring in your bill on the matters in question, and even then to wait for the dates prescribed by law, in order that, doing business in that fashion, even though anyone tried to show that your law was disadvantageous to the State, you might not have been suspected of malicious intention, but only of the misfortune of erroneous judgement. 24.49As it is, by thrusting your law into the statute-book clandestinely, hastily, and illegally, you have stripped yourself of all claim to indulgence; for indulgence belongs to those who offend unwittingly, not to those who have concerted a plot, as you are convicted of doing. However, I shall have a word to say on that point presently. Meantime,—read the next law. 24.50Law

If any person make petition to the Council or to the Assembly in respect of any sentence of a Court of Justice or of the Council or of the Assembly, if the person who has been fined himself make petition before he has paid the fine, an information shall lie against him in the same manner as when a person sits on a jury being indebted to the treasury; and if another person make petition on behalf of the person fined, his whole property shall be confiscated; and if any Commissioner shall allow the question to be put for anyone, whether for the person fined or for another on his behalf, he shall be disfranchised.

24.51It is a long task, gentlemen of the jury, if we are to speak of all the laws to which the proposals introduced by the defendant are repugnant; but if any law deserves discussion it is surely that which the clerk has just read. The author of that law knew how kind-hearted and indulgent you Athenians are; he could see that in many instances you had already suffered serious detriment by your own act because of that easy disposition; 24.52and therefore, wishing to leave no excuse for public losses, he declared it wrongful that men who had been convicted of misconduct by process and judgement with the sanction of law should enjoy the benefit of your good-nature, falling back upon prayers and solicitation in their distress. Accordingly he strictly forbade either the culprit himself or anyone else to supplicate you or make speeches upon such complaints; they must do what justice demands in silence. 24.53Now if you were asked for whom you would more naturally do a service, for those who beg you or for those who bid you, I am sure you would reply, for those who beg; for the former service is the outcome of kindliness, the latter of cowardice. Well, the laws, all of them, command you to do your duty; suppliants beg you to do a favour. Then where supplication is forbidden, can it be permissible to introduce a law that contains a command? I think not. In cases in which you conceived it to be your duty even to refuse favours, it is shameful that you should allow the desires of certain people to be fulfilled against your will.—Read the statute that comes next in order. 24.54Law

When there has been a prior judgement audit or adjudication about any matter in a court of law, whether in a public or a private suit, or where the State has been vendor, none of the magistrates may bring the matter into court or put any question to the vote, nor shall they permit any accusation forbidden by law.

24.55Why, it looks as though Timocrates were compiling evidence of his own transgressions; for at the very outset of his law he makes a proposal exactly contrary to these provisions. The legislator does not permit any question once decided by judgement of the court to be put a second time; the law of Timocrates reads that, if any penalty has been inflicted on a man in pursuance of a law or a decree, the Assembly must reconsider the matter for him, in order that the decision of the court may be overruled, and sureties put in by the person amerced. The statute forbids any magistrate even to put the question contrary to these provisions; Timocrates proposes that, if sureties are nominated, the Commissioners shall be obliged to submit their names, and adds the phrase, “whenever any debtor wishes.”— 24.56Read another statute.Law

Judgements and awards given under the law while the government was democratic shall be valid.

No, says Timocrates; they shall not be valid, at least when the penalty of imprisonment has been imposed.—Proceed.Law

But acts done and judgements delivered during the time of the Thirty Tyrants, whether in private or public suits, shall be invalid.

24.57Stop. Tell me; hearing that, what would all of you name as the most terrible misfortune?Against what would you pray most earnestly? I suppose that your prayer would be that the state of things under the Thirty Tyrants should never recur. Anyhow, that, as I understand it, is the misfortune against which this statute provides, by ordaining that the acts of that time shall be invalid. Well, the defendant condemns as illegal acts done under popular government, exactly as you condemned the acts of the tyranny; or at least he makes them equally invalid. 24.58Then what are we to say for ourselves, men of Athens, if we allow this law to be confirmed? That our tribunals, composed under popular government of men who have taken the judicial oath, are guilty of the same iniquities as the tribunals of the Thirty Tyrants? Preposterous! That they give righteous judgements? Then what reason can we allege for enacting a law to reverse those judgements? Unless indeed we plead that we were out of our minds. We have no other excuse to offer.— 24.59Read another statute.Law

Nor shall it be lawful to propose a law applying to a particular man, unless the same be applicable to all Athenian citizens, except by the votes of not less than six thousand citizens voting in the affirmative by ballot.

It forbids the introduction of any law that does not affect all citizens alike,—an injunction conceived in the true spirit of democracy. As every man has an equal share in the constitution generally, so this statute asserts his equal share in the laws. You know as well as I do for whose sake Timocrates introduced his law; but, leaving those names out of the question, we have his own admission that his law is not of universal application, for he added a clause excepting from its operation tax-farmers, lessees, and their sureties.—When, sir, there are certain persons whom you have put outside your law, you cannot claim that you have made the same law for all alike. 24.60And there is another thing that you cannot say,— that of all persons punished by imprisonment tax farmers are the greatest offenders and do us the gravest wrong, and that that is why you do not give them the benefit of your law. Surely men who are traitors to the commonwealth, men who maltreat their own parents, men who enter the market-place with unclean hands, offend far more heinously; and all those criminals are threatened with imprisonment by the standing laws, while your law offers them instant release. But here again you reveal the men in whose favour you moved your law. They got into our debt not by tax-farming, but by embezzling, or rather by plundering, our money; and that, I warrant you, is the true reason why you had no consideration for the tax-farmers.

24.61Many other excellent statutes might be cited, all contradicted by the law he has proposed. However, if I discuss every one of them, I shall, perhaps, be robbed of my chance of arguing that the law is altogether disadvantageous to the citizens. On the other hand, even if it is repugnant to one only of the existing laws, you can have no doubt that it is open to the indictment. What, then, is my decision? To pass over all the other laws, but to discuss one law proposed on a former occasion by the defendant himself, before I proceed to that part of my accusation in which I allege that the law, if operative, will be most injurious to the commonwealth. 24.62To have introduced a law contrary to the laws of others is a serious offence, but one which requires accusation by someone else; but, when a man legislates in opposition to a former enactment of his own, he is really making himself his own accuser. To show you that such is really the case, the clerk will read to you the actual law proposed by him, while I hold my peace.—Read. 24.63Law

Moved by Timocrates: if any Athenian citizens are now in jail or shall hereafter be imprisoned on impeachment by the Council, if the judgement against such prisoners be not delivered to the Judges by the Secretary of the Presidency in pursuance of the law of impeachment, be it enacted that the Eleven shall bring them before the Court within thirty days of the day on which they receive them into custody, unless prevented by public business, and, if so prevented, as soon as possible. Any Athenian qualified as a prosecutor may prosecute. If the culprit be convicted, the Court of Heliaea shall assess such penalty, pecuniary or otherwise, as he appears to deserve. If the penalty assessed be pecuniary, he shall be imprisoned until he has paid the full amount of the fine inflicted.

24.64You hear that, gentlemen of the jury?—Read those words again.Law

If the penalty assessed be pecuniary he shall be imprisoned until he has paid the full amount—

That will do.—Could a man possibly propose two more contradictory enactments than these,—that convicted malefactors shall be kept in jail until they have paid their fines, and that these same malefactors may put in sureties, but must not be imprisoned. Here, then, is an accusation brought against Timocrates by Timocrates, not by Diodorus nor by any other of the great multitude of citizens. 24.65Yet from what gain do you think that such a man would restrain his hand, or what would he hesitate to do for lucre's sake, when he did not disdain to legislate in contradiction of himself, though the laws forbid contradiction even of others? It seems to me that, so far as effrontery goes, such a man is ready to do anything. Inasmuch, therefore, as the laws provide that evil doers of other kinds shall upon confession be punished without trial, you, men of Athens, have a right to give your verdict against this man without allowing him to speak or giving him a hearing, now that he has been caught in the act of maltreating the laws; for by proposing this law in contravention of the former law, he has pleaded guilty.

24.66That the law he has proposed is contrary to the statutes just read, to those which I cited before, and, I may almost say, to every law in Athens, is now, I suppose, manifest to every one of you. I really wonder what he will have the face to say about those statutes. He cannot show that his law does not contradict the others; and he will not be able to convince you that he is a simple layman who did not know what he was doing through lack of experience, because for a long time past he has been celebrated for composing and introducing laws at so much apiece. Moreover, there is another course that is not open to him: 24.67he cannot admit that he has done wrong and then plead that he deserves forgiveness; for it is quite clear that he did not propose his law unwillingly, or to help the distressed, or his own family, or people who have a claim upon him. He did it by intention, on behalf of men who have done you a grave injury, and who are in no way related to him,—unless he pretends that payment of wages is a bond of kinship.

24.68I will now do my best to prove that the law he introduced is unacceptable and disadvantageous to the citizens. I presume that you will all agree with me that a really wholesome law, such as is calculated to benefit the people, ought, in the first place, to be drawn simply and intelligibly, not in such terms that one man thinks it means this and another that; and, secondly, that the proceedings prescribed by the law ought to be practicable, for if a law, though well-meant, were to enjoin what is impossible, it would be attempting the work not of a law, but of a prayer. 24.69Furthermore, it should plainly appear that it does not offer an easy time to any wrongdoer. For if anyone supposes that indulgent laws are the mark of popular government, let him ask this further question: to whom are they to be indulgent? If he will look at the matter rightly, he will find that the answer is, to persons who are going to be tried, not to persons already convicted. For of the former we may say that it is still uncertain whether they have been unjustly calumniated; but the latter can no longer plead that they are not evil-doers. 24.70Now it shall be made clear that the law before us exhibits none of the traits I have enumerated, but the very opposite, taking them one by one. There are many ways in which I might make good that statement; the best will be to go through the law itself, phrase by phrase. It is not a law well-conceived in parts, and defective in parts; from beginning to end, from the first syllable to the last, it is enacted to your detriment.— 24.71The clerk shall take the actual manuscript, and read the law to the jury as far as the end of the first section.—That is the easiest way for me to explain, and for you to apprehend, what I mean.Law of Timocrates

During the first presidency, namely, that of the Pandionid Tribe, on the twelfth day of that presidency, the question was put by Aristocles of Myrrhinus, one of the Commissioners: moved by Timocrates, that if the additional penalty of imprisonment has been or shall hereafter be inflicted in pursuance of any law or decree upon any person in debt to the treasury, it shall be competent for him or for any person on his behalf to nominate as sureties for the debt—

24.72Stop; you shall read it clause by clause presently. This, gentlemen of the jury, is very nearly the most scandalous provision of the whole statute. I do not think that any other man, when introducing a law for the use of his fellow-citizens, ever ventured upon an attempt to rescind judgements passed under earlier statutes. Yet that is what the defendant Timocrates has done without shame and even without concealment, inserting these plain words: “if the additional penalty of imprisonment has been or shall hereafter be inflicted in pursuance of any law or decree upon any person in debt to the treasury.” 24.73If he had merely advised us of the right course for the future, there would have been no harm in it but, when a court of justice has given its verdict and determined the issue, is it not outrageous to introduce a law by which that verdict is to be rescinded? It is as though, after allowing the law of Timocrates to become operative, someone should draft a second law to this effect: “if any persons being indebted, and having had the further penalty of imprisonment passed upon them, shall have put in sureties as the law directs, they shall not be entitled to such bail, and it shall not be lawful hereafter to release anyone on bail.” 24.74I suppose that no man in his senses would do such a thing; and you, sir, were guilty when you tried to annul those other provisions. For if he thought it a fair thing to do, his proper course was to introduce a law governing future transactions; not to lump together all offences, past and future, proven and unproven, and then register an indiscriminate judgement upon all together. Surely it is outrageous that men who have already been convicted of offences against the common weal should be deemed worthy of the same judicial treatment as men of whom it is not yet known whether they will ever do anything that deserves prosecution?

24.75Again, we may discern how monstrously he has acted in making his law retrospective, by asking ourselves what is the real difference between government by law and oligarchy; and why we regard those who prefer to live under laws as honest, sober-minded persons, and those who submit to oligarchical rule as cowards and slaves. 24.76The outstanding difference you will find to be really this: under oligarchical government everybody is entitled to undo the past, and to prescribe future transactions according to his own pleasure; whereas the laws of a free state prescribe what shall be done in the future, such laws having been enacted by convincing people that they will be beneficial to those who live under them. Timocrates however, legislating in a democratically governed city, has introduced into his law the characteristic iniquity of oligarchy; and in dealing with past transactions has presumed to claim for himself an authority higher than that of the convicting jury.

24.77Nor is this the only example of his arrogance. It is further enacted that “if hereafter the additional penalty of imprisonment shall have been imposed, the prisoner may be released on producing sureties for payment of his fine.” If he really thought imprisonment such a dreadful infliction, his proper course was to enact that no man who produces sureties shall be committed to prison; but not, having first found that you have passed sentence of imprisonment and so incurred the resentment of the convict, then to give him a discharge on bail. In fact, he has introduced his law in this fashion by way of advertising himself as one who will, on his own authority, release prisoners, though you may have decided to keep them in jail. 24.78Can anyone see any public advantage in a law that is to override the decisions of a court of justice, and that requires unsworn persons to cancel the judgements of sworn juries ? I hope not. It is clear that the law of Timocrates has both these faults; and if you have, each one of you, any regard for the constitution, or if you claim authority for your own decision of the questions on which you give your verdict under oath, you must abrogate a law like this, and not permit it to be made valid today.

24.79He was not satisfied with destroying the authority of this court in respect of additional penalties, but you will find that even the proceedings which he has prescribed in his law, and imposed upon culprits who have been condemned, have not been drafted with honesty and sincerity, but as though his main purpose was to mislead and overreach you. Observe the phrasing: “Moved by Timocrates that, if the additional penalty of imprisonment has been or shall hereafter be inflicted in pursuance of any law or decree upon any person in debt to the treasury, it shall be competent for him or for any other person on his behalf to nominate as sureties for the debt such persons as shall be approved on vote by the Assembly.” 24.80See what a long stride he has taken from the court of justice and its sentences! Even to the Assembly; for he steals the person of the criminal, as well as the right to hand him over to the Eleven. What magistrate will ever hand over the delinquent? What member of the Eleven will ever accept custody? The order of Timocrates is that sureties are to be nominated in the Assembly; it is impossible for the Assembly and the Courts to be in session on the same day; and there is no injunction to keep the man in custody until he has named his sureties. 24.81Why should he have been afraid to add a distinct injunction that “the magistrate shall keep the delinquent in custody until he shall have put in his sureties”? Is not that quite fair? I am sure you will all say yes. Would it have been contrary to any statute ? No, indeed; it would have been the only clause that does conform to the statutes. Then what was his reason? There is no discoverable reason except this,—that his purpose was not to help but to obstruct the punishment of criminals condemned by you.

24.82Well, how does it go on? “To nominate sureties on an undertaking to pay in full the amount in which he was indebted.” Here again he has stolen away the right of the sacred funds to a tenfold payment, and one-half of the claim of the civil treasury, in cases where double payment is required by law. And how does he manage that? By writing “the amount” instead of “the penalty,” and “in which he was indebted” instead of “which has accrued.” 24.83The difference is this: if he had proposed that sureties should be appointed to guarantee the payment of the accruing penalty, he would have embraced in his enactment the statutes under which certain debts are doubled, and others multiplied by ten; and so the debtor would have been obliged not only to pay in full the amount of the debt as recorded, but also to liquidate the penal payments legally added thereto. As it is, by the words “nominate sureties on an undertaking to pay in full the amount in which he was indebted,” he makes the payment depend on the plaint and the documents upon which the several delinquents were brought to trial; and in those documents only the original amount of the debt is recorded.

24.84Again, after making such a big hole in the laws by juggling with words, he adds: “the Commissioners note are required to put the question whensoever any debtor wishes to nominate sureties,” for right through his law he thinks it his business to rescue the criminal who has been convicted in this court. By allowing the nomination of sureties to take place at the pleasure of the delinquent, he puts it into his power never to pay, and never to go to prison. 24.85Of course he will put forward men of straw, and by the time you have rejected them, he will be out of your reach. For if anyone demands his retention in jail for failing to produce sureties, he will reply that he has done so, and intends to do so; and then he will point to the statute of Timocrates, which bids him nominate sureties whenever he likes, but says nothing about custody in the meantime, which gives no instruction for imprisonment in case you reject the sureties, which is, in short, a sort of universal talisman for would-be evil-doers.

24.86“The debtor who has given sureties,” he goes on, “shall be released from the penalty of imprisonment on payment to the State of the money in respect of which he gave sureties.” Here again he persisted in the trick I mentioned just now; he had not forgotten it; he enacted that the man shall be released from prison on payment, not of the accruing penalty, but of the original debt.

24.87“But if at the time of the ninth presidency neither he nor his sureties shall have paid in the money, the man who gave sureties shall be imprisoned, and the property of the sureties shall be confiscated.” In this final clause, you will find, he has at last become the accuser of his own iniquities in the fullest sense. He did not forbid imprisonment on the broad ground that to imprison a free citizen is something shameful or terrible; but he stole from you your chance of catching your criminal in the place where he is, and so he left to you, who are the party aggrieved, the empty name of retribution, but robbed you of the reality. Without your consent he gave a discharge to people who forcibly appropriate your money; and he was within an ace of adding a clause enabling an action at law against the juries that had imposed the penalty of imprisonment.

24.88But of all the objectionable enactments of his law, that of which I will now speak deserves our most vehement indignation. From beginning to end it is addressed to delinquents who put in sureties; but there is neither prosecution nor penalty for the man who offers no sureties, good or bad, but simply defies you. For that man he has provided the fullest imaginable impunity. The days of grace, defined as extending to the ninth presidency, he offers to the man who has put in bail. 24.89You will see the point by observing that he adds a clause to the effect that the property of the sureties shall be confiscated, if they do not pay the debt in full. Yes, but suppose a man has not named any sureties,—then of course there are no sureties to punish. He compels the Commissioners, men chosen for that office by lot from the ranks of the citizens, to accept sureties whenever named; but on men who defraud the commonwealth he imposes no sort of compulsion,—he treats them as benefactors, and gives them the right to choose whether they will be punished or not.

24.90Could any conceivable statute be more unsound or more opposed to your interests? First, it enjoins the reversal of your judgements in cases long ago decided; and secondly, in cases still to be tried, while instructing sworn jurors to inflict penalties, it makes those penalties inoperative. Further, it enfranchises state-debtors who do not discharge their liabilities, and, in general, it makes an exhibition of you jurors as men whose oaths, whose penalties, whose verdicts, whose censures, whose acts, in short, are all utterly futile. For my part, I conceive that if the author of the statute had been Critias of the Thirty Tyrants, he would hardly have framed and introduced it in any other fashion than this.

24.91I think that you will easily be convinced that this law upsets the constitution, throws public business into confusion, and denudes the commonwealth of many honorable ambitions. For you cannot be unconscious that our city has often owed her safety to the warlike adventures of our navy and our land forces; and that you have frequently performed glorious achievements in the deliverance, or the chastisement, or the reconciliation, of other cities. What do I infer? 24.92Such successes could only have been organized by the aid of those decrees and laws under which you levy contributions on some citizens, and require others to furnish war-galleys; bid some to serve in the navy, and others to perform their several duties. With that object, therefore, you impanel juries, and punish the insubordinate with imprisonment. Now mark how this gallant gentleman's statute vitiates and makes havoc of all that business. 24.93His clause reads, you remember: “if the penalty of imprisonment has been or shall hereafter be inflicted upon any debtor, he shall, on nominating sureties on an undertaking to pay the money during the ninth presidency, be released from imprisonment.” Then where are our resources? How shall any expedition be dispatched? How shall we collect ways and means, if every defaulter nominates sureties under this man's act instead of discharging his obligation? 24.94I presume that our reply to the Hellenic world will be: “We have a law here,—the statute of Timocrates. Kindly wait till the ninth presidency; then after that we will start.” No other excuse is left. And if you have to fight in self-defence, do you really think that the enemy will wait for the evasions and rogueries of every scoundrel in Athens? If our city enacts laws for her own discomfiture, laws exactly contrary to her own interests, do you think she will ever be able to play her true part in the world? 24.95Men of Athens, we may well be satisfied if, with everything in good order, and with no such law as this, we hold advantage over our enemies, keep pace with the swift emergencies and sudden chances of warfare, and are never behindhand.—But if you, sir, distinguish yourself as the author of a law that makes havoc of everything by which our city has earned the respect and admiration of the world, is there any punishment that you do not deserve to suffer?

24.96Moreover, men of Athens, the law shatters our financial system, both sacred and civil; and I will tell you how. You have a law in operation, as good a law as ever was enacted, that holders of sacred or civil moneys shall pay the money in to the Council house, and that, failing such payment, the Council shall recover the money by enforcing the statutes applicable to tax-farmers; 24.97and on that law the administration of the treasury depends. That is the law that ensures the supplementary supply for the expenses of meetings of the Assembly, religious services, the Council, the cavalry, and so forth, because the revenue from taxation is not sufficient for current expenses, and what we call the supplementary payments are made under the constraint of that law. 24.98It follows that the whole business of the State must go to rack and ruin when, the payments on account of taxation being insufficient, there is a large deficiency, when that deficiency cannot be made up until towards the end of the year, and when, as regards the supplementary payments, neither the Council nor the law-courts have authority to imprison defaulters, if they put in sureties until the ninth presidency. 24.99What are we to do for the first eight ? Tell us this, Timocrates: are we never to meet and deliberate? If so, shall we still be living under popular government? Shall there be no sessions of the courts, civil or criminal? If so, what security will there be for complainants? Shall the Council not attend at their office to transact their legal business? If so, what remains but complete disorganization? You nay reply that we shall go on without payment of fees. Then is it not monstrous that the Assembly, the Council, and the law-courts must go unpaid for the sake of a statute which you were paid to introduce? 24.100You ought at least to have added a clause, as you did in dealing with the tax-farmers and their sureties, that “if in any other statute or decree it is provided that the debts of any defaulter may be recovered as in the case of tax-farmers, recovery from such defaulters shall be effected in accordance with the existing laws.” 24.101—But in fact he went out of his way to avoid the statutes of tax-farming; and, because Euctemon's decree did authorize recovery from losers of suits according to those statutes, for that very reason he omitted to add the clause. In that manner, by cancelling the existing punishment of public defaulters without substituting any other, he makes havoc of all our business,—the Assembly, the cavalry, the Council, the sacred funds, the civil revenue. And for that offence, men of Athens, if you are wise men, he will be chastised and treated as he deserves, and so made an example to deter others from bringing in such laws.

24.102Not only, then, does he deprive the court of authority in respect of supplementary payments, offer immunity to defrauders of the State, cripple our national service, and undermine our financial system, but also, by abrogating the penalties imposed by the existing statutes, he has enacted his law for the benefit of swindlers, parricides, and shirkers. 24.103The statutes enacted by Solon, a very different legislator from the defendant, provided that if a man is convicted of theft, and not punished with death, he shall suffer imprisonment; that if a man found guilty of ill-treating his parents intrudes upon the market-place, he shall go to jail; and that if a man, having been convicted of shirking military service, behaves as though he were not disfranchised, he also shall be imprisoned. Timocrates gives impunity to all these offenders, for he abolishes imprisonment if they put in bail. 24.104Therefore, in my judgement )and though you may think what I am going to say rather coarse, I will say it without hesitation(, he deserves, on that very account, to be punished with death, so that he may pass this law in Hell for the benefit of the wicked, and leave us who are still alive in the continued enjoyment of our holy and righteous laws.—Read also the laws I have mentioned. 24.105Laws Concerning Theft, Maltreatment of Parents, and Desertion

If a man has recovered the property lost, the penalty shall be twice the value of such property; if he has not recovered it, ten times the value in addition to the lawful amercement. The thief shall be kept in the stocks for five days and five nights, if an additional penalty is awarded by the court; and such additional penalty may be proposed by anyone, when the question of sentence is raised.—If any man be put under arrest after being found guilty of ill-treating his parents or of shirking service, or for entering any forbidden place after notice of outlawry, the Eleven shall put him into prison and bring him before the Court of Heliaea, and any person being a lawful prosecutor may prosecute him. If he be found guilty, the Court shall determine what penalty, corporal or pecuniary, he shall suffer; and if the penalty be pecuniary, he shall be kept in prison until he has paid the fine.

24.106Much alike these two legislators, Solon and Timocrates,—are they not, men of Athens? Solon aims at the reformation of the living and of the unborn; Timocrates points the scoundrels of the past to a road by which they may escape justice, and invents a scheme of impunity for malefactors present and malefactors to come, providing deliverance and reprieve for past, present, and future sinners alike. 24.107—What adequate satisfaction can you render, or by what punishment can you be punished as you deserve, you who, to say nothing of the rest, subvert the laws that protect old age, that compel the maintenance of parents in their lifetime, and ensure that they shall be honored with due observance when they die? How can you escape being adjudged the basest of mankind, you reprobate, who openly account thieves and scoundrels and shirkers of more value than your fatherland, and for their sake bring in a law to our detriment?

24.108Now I propose to reckon up how I have fulfilled the promises I made at the outset of my address. I undertook to prove that he is amenable to the indictment in every respect, first, because he legislated illegally; secondly, because his proposals were contrary to existing statutes; and thirdly, because they were injurious to the commonwealth. Well, you have now heard the statutes, and what they enjoin upon the author of a new law; and again I have satisfied you that the defendant has not observed any one of those injunctions. 24.109Further, you have also heard the statutes with which the defendant's law is manifestly at variance; and you are aware that he has introduced it without repeal of those statutes. And you have certainly heard that the law is detrimental, for I have only just left off telling you so. Therefore he is unquestionably guilty on every count, and in nothing has he shown consideration or scruple; but, as it seems to me, if anything else had been forbidden by the existing statutes, he would have done that as well.

24.110From every point of view it is clear that he framed his proposals with a sinister purpose, and that he offends of malice prepense and not by error of judgement, especially as the character of his law is preserved down to the very last syllable. He proposed nothing that was right, nothing likely to be serviceable to you, even unintentionally. Surely you are bound to abhor and to punish a man who had no thought for wrongs done to the people, but enacted laws for the benefit of those who have injured you before and will injure you again. 24.111Gentlemen of the jury, I am amazed at the man's effrontery. To think that, when he and Androtion were in office, he never had any compassion for the great body of your fellow-citizens, who were exhausted with paying income-tax, and that then when Androtion was called upon to refund money, both sacred and civil, which he had long before stolen from the State, he must needs propose a law to deprive you of the double repayment of civil, and the tenfold repayment of sacred, liabilities! Thus the whole mass of you citizens has been attacked by a man who was immediately afterwards to pretend that he had framed his law as a friend of the people. 24.112In my view, no punishment could be too severe for a man who, when some market-clerk, or street-inspector, or judge of a local court,—some poor, unskilled man, without experience, and appointed to his office by lot,—has been found guilty of peculation at the audits, demands from him a tenfold restitution, and has no new law to propose for the relief of such delinquents, and then, when ambassadors, elected by vote of the people, men of substance, have embezzled and long retained large sums of money, the property in part of the temples, in part of the treasury, is at great pains to invent for them a way of escape from penalties ordained both by decree and by statute. 24.113And yet Solon, gentlemen of the jury,—and even Timocrates cannot pretend to be a legislator of the same calibre as Solon,—so far from providing such defaulters with the means of swindling in security, actually introduced a law to ensure that they should either refrain from crime or be adequately punished. For a theft in day-time of more than fifty drachmas a man might be arrested summarily and put into custody of the Eleven. If he stole anything, however small, by night, the person aggrieved might lawfully pursue and kill or wound him, or else put him into the hands of the Eleven, at his own option. A man found guilty of an offence for which arrest is lawful was not allowed to put in bail and refund the stolen money; no, the penalty was death. 24.114Or suppose that he stole a cloak, or an oil-flask, or any such trifle, from the Lyceum, or the Academy, or Cynosarges, or any utensil from the gymnasia or the harbors, above the value of ten drachmas, for such thefts also Solon enacted the capital penalty. If a man was found guilty on a private prosecution for theft, while the normal penalty was double reparation, the court was empowered to add to the fine the extra penalty of imprisonment for five days and as many nights, so that everybody might see the thief in jail. You heard those laws read not long ago. 24.115Solon's view was that the doer of infamous deeds ought not to get off with mere repayment of the money stolen; for it seemed to him that there would be no lack of thieves on such terms,—if they had the chance of keeping their booty if undetected, and of simply restoring it if caught. They must pay double; they must be imprisoned as well as fined, and so live in disgrace for the rest of their lives. Not so Timocrates; he made arrangements for a simple, instead of a double, reparation, and for no sort of additional penalty. 24.116Nor was he content to be guilty of this iniquity in respect of future offences only; he released even the man who had already committed his crime, and already been punished. I, however, used to suppose that legislators were concerned with the future, making laws to direct how people should behave, how every thing should he managed, and what should be the proper penalties for different transgressions. That is what is meant by making the laws the same for all citizens. To frame statutes for past transactions is not to legislate, but to rescue malefactors. 24.117You may judge that what I am telling you is true by reflecting that, if Euctemon had been convicted on the charge of illegal legislation, Timocrates would never have proposed his law, and the State would never have wanted his law; his friends would have been content to plunder the property of the State, without any concern for other people. But in fact Euctemon was acquitted and therefore Timocrates demands that your decision, the judgement of the court, and every other statute shall be invalidated, and that he and his law shall alone be authoritative. 24.118—And yet, Timocrates, laws which are still authoritative have given supreme authority to the gentlemen of the jury. The laws permit them, after hearing the case, to adjust their condemnation of the offender to their view of the gravity of the offence; light for light, heavy for heavy. Whenever the phrase is, “what penalty, corporal or pecuniary, should be awarded,” the award is at the discretion of the jury. 24.119You, then, abolish the corporal penalty by remitting imprisonment. For whom? For thieves and temple-robbers, for parricides, murderers, shirkers, and deserters. All such men you protect by your law. And yet does not a man who, under a free constitution, legislates, not to protect the temples, not to protect the people, but to protect such people as I have named, deserve to suffer the extreme penalty? 24.120—Certainly he cannot deny that such people ought to be, and that the laws make them, liable to the heaviest punishments. Neither can he deny that the men for whose protection he has invented his law are thieves and temple-robbers; for the have robbed the temples of the ten per cent due to Athena and of the two per cent due to the other gods; they keep the money in their own pockets instead of making restitution, and they have stolen the public share, which belonged to you. Their sacrilege differs from other forms of sacrilege to this extent,—that they never even paid the money into the Acropolis as they ought. 24.121As Heaven is my witness, gentlemen of the jury, I believe Androtion became the victim of this arrogant, overbearing temper, not by accident, but by the visitation of the gods, to the end that, as the mutilators of the statue of Victory perished by their own hands, note so these men should perish by litigation among themselves, and should either make tenfold restitution, as the laws direct, or be cast into prison.

24.122I should like to make an observation about his law which occurred to my mind while I was speaking about these matters,—something quite out of the common, indeed surprisingly so. The defendant, gentlemen of the jury, has proposed that the penalty inflicted upon farmers of taxes, if they did not pay their dues, should be in accordance with the earlier statutes, in which the penalty provided is imprisonment and double restitution for men who, in consequence of losses on their contract, might possibly do the State a wrong unintentionally. On the other hand, he abolishes imprisonment for men who steal the property of the State and rob the temples of the Goddess.—If you tell us, Timocrates, that the latter are guilty of a less serious offence than the former, you must admit that you are out of your senses; and if you think their offence more serious, as indeed it is, and yet release them and refuse to release the others, is it not evident that you have sold your services to these men for a bribe?

24.123Another remark worth making, gentlemen of the jury, is that you are far more magnanimous than the politicians. Anyhow you do not repeal the harsh enactments made against the common people,—against those, for instance, who take fees from both parties, or attend the Assembly or sit on a jury while in debt to the treasury, or do anything else forbidden by the laws,—although you know that any man who commits one of these offences may do so because he is poor. You do not enact laws to give liberty of transgression, but rather to take it away. They, on the other hand, make laws to rescue from punishment persons guilty of the most infamous and outrageous misconduct. 24.124And then in private they talk insultingly about you, as though they were superior persons, though they are really behaving like ill-conditioned, ungrateful servants. Servants who have been manumitted, you know, gentlemen of the jury, are never grateful to their masters for their liberation, but hate them more bitterly than they hate anyone else, as sharing in the secret of their former servitude. In the same spirit politicians are not satisfied with having risen from poverty to affluence at the expense of the City, but calumniate the common people,—because the common people know what their style of life was when they were young and poor.

24.125But it would perhaps, as he may suggest, have been a great shame for Androtion to be sent to prison, or for Glaucetes, or Melanopus. No, indeed, gentlemen of the jury! It will be a far greater shame if an injured and insulted commonwealth shall exact no retribution for the Goddess or for itself. Does not imprisonment run in Androtion's family? Why, you know yourselves that his father often went to jail for five years at a stretch; and then he was not discharged—he ran away. 24.126Or has he earned forgiveness by his conduct in youth? Why, he deserves imprisonment for that conduct just as much as for his embezzlements. Do you mean because he frequented the market-place before he was qualified, and with his own hands haled men of respectable life from the market-place to the jail? But there is Melanopus, you say, and what a dreadful thing it would be if Melanopus were committed to prison today! 24.127Well, about his father I will say nothing disrespectful; though I could tell you a long story about thieving,—however, so far as I am concerned, let his father be worthy of all the compliments that Timocrates may lavish upon him. But suppose that the son of this virtuous father was himself a rascal and a thief; suppose that he once paid a fine of three talents on conviction for treason; suppose that, after he had sat in the Allied Congress, note the court found him guilty of embezzlement, and ordered him to make tenfold restitution; suppose that he played false when he went on embassy to Egypt; suppose that he swindled his own brothers—does he not deserve imprisonment all the more if his father was virtuous, and he is what he is? For my part, I fancy that, if Laches note really was virtuous and patriotic, he should himself have sent his degenerate son to jail for implicating him in such infamous scandals. However, let us pass Melanopus by, and fix our gaze upon Glaucetes. 24.128Was not he the man who first ran away to Deceleia, and, with Deceleia as his base, overran and harried your country? But you all know that. Was it not he who scrupulously paid to the Spartan governor at that place tithes due upon your wives and children and all the rest of his booty; 24.129and yet, when you had honored him with the office of ambassador, robbed the Goddess at Athens of her tithe of the plunder he took from your enemies? Was it not he who, being appointed treasurer at the Acropolis, stole from that place those prizes of victory which our ancestors carried off from the barbarians, the throne with silver feet, and Mardonius's scimitar, which weighed three hundred darics? These exploits, however, are so celebrated that they are known to everybody. But in everything else is he not a man of violence? Aye, he has no equal for that. 24.130Is it right, then, that you should deal tenderly with any one of them, and disregard for their sakes the tithes of Athena or the double repayment of public moneys? Is it right to leave unpunished the man who is exerting himself to save them? What is there, gentlemen, to prevent everybody turning knave, if knavery is to be profitable? Nothing that I can see.

24.131You must punish crime, not encourage it by your own teaching. Do not let them make a grievance of going to prison with your money in their pockets, but bring them under the yoke of law. People convicted under the alien acts do not think themselves aggrieved when they are kept in yonder building note until the trial for false evidence is over; they simply stay there without expecting to get the freedom of the streets by putting in bail. 24.132The commonwealth, having decided to distrust them, did not choose to be cheated of retribution by the process of putting in bail, but preferred that they should stay in a place where many genuine Athenians have sojourned. Yet. people have been imprisoned there before now both for debt and on judgement, and have taken it quietly. Perhaps it is rather invidious to mention names, but I cannot help giving you a list for comparison with the men before you. 24.133I will not mention very ancient instances, or any earlier than the archonship of Eucleides note; but I must observe that many men, who in their own generation were highly esteemed for their earlier conduct, were nevertheless most severely treated by the People for the offences of their later life. The commonwealth was not content with a period of honesty followed by knavery, but expected uninterrupted honesty in public dealings. The previous honesty of such a person was not, in their view, attributable to innate virtue; it was part of a scheme to attract confidence. 24.134But after the archonship of Eucleides, gentlemen of the jury, first, you all remember that the well-known Thrasybulus of Colyttus was twice imprisoned and condemned at both his trials before the Assembly; and yet he was one of the heroes of the march from Phyle and Peiraeus. note Then there was Philepsius of Lamptra. Next take Agyrrhius of Colyttus, a good man, a liberal politician, and an ardent defender of popular rights; 24.135and yet even he admitted that the laws must be as binding upon him as upon people without influence, and he stayed in that building for many years, until he had repaid the money in his possession which was adjudged to be public property; nor did Callistratus, who was in power, and who was his nephew, try to make new laws to meet his particular case. Or take Myronides; he was the son of that Archinus who occupied Phyle, and whom, after the gods, we have chiefly to thank for the restoration of popular government, and who had achieved success on many occasions both as statesman and as commander. 24.136In spite of their merits, these men all submitted to the laws. Again, the treasurers of Athena and of the other gods, during whose term the Inner Treasury was burned down, were lodged in yonder building pending their trial; so too were the persons suspected of the corn-market frauds, and many others, gentlemen of the jury,—all better men than Androtion. 24.137Then if it was right that for them the old-established laws should be operative, and that they should be punished in accordance with the existing laws, can it be right that for the sake of Androtion, Glaucetes, and Melanopus, a brand-new statute should be made,—for men who have been found guilty and condemned by verdict in pursuance of old-established laws, and who are declared to be detaining sacred and public moneys? Will not Athens be a laughing-stock if she is discovered enacting laws for the deliverance of temple robbers? 24.138So I should say. Then do not tolerate any insult to yourselves or to the State. Remember how, no longer ago than the archonship of Evander, you put Eudemus of Cydathenaeum to death, because you held him to have proposed an objectionable statute; and that you were within an ace also of putting to death Philip, the son of Philip the ship-owner, but, by a very small majority, you accepted his own counter-assessment of the penalty, and made him pay a very heavy fine. Treat the defendant today in the same spirit of severity. And there is another consideration for you to bear in mind,—how injuriously you would have been treated by Timocrates, if he alone had been your ambassador. I really believe that there is nothing from which such a fellow would have kept his hands. Have regard also to the disposition of the man; for the law which he has had the audacity to propose is significant of his character.

24.139I should like, gentlemen of the jury, to give you a description of the method of legislation among the Locrians. It will do you no harm to hear an example, especially one set by a well-governed community. In that country the people are so strongly of opinion that it is right to observe old-established laws, to preserve the institutions of their forefathers, and never to legislate for the gratification of whims, or for a compromise with transgression, that if a man wishes to propose a new law, he legislates with a halter round his neck. If the law is accepted as good and beneficial, the proposer departs with his life, but, if not, the halter is drawn tight, and he is a dead man. 24.140In very truth they are not bold enough to propose new laws, but punctually obey the old ones. And, during quite a long series of years, we are told, gentlemen of the jury, that they have enacted only one new statute. They had a law in that country that, if any one destroyed his neighbor's eye, he must submit to the destruction of one of his own eyes; and there was no alternative of a fine. The story goes that a man, whose enemy had only one eye, threatened to knock that one eye out. 24.141The one-eyed man was much perturbed by the threat, and, reflecting that his life would not be worth keeping after such a loss as that, he plucked up courage, as we are told, to introduce a law that whosoever struck out the eye of a man who had only one, should submit to the loss of both his own eyes, in order that both might suffer the same affliction. And that, according to the story, is the only new statute adopted by the Locrians for more than two hundred years. 24.142But in this city, gentlemen of the jury, our politicians rarely let a month go by without legislating to suit their private ends. When in office they are always haling private citizens to jail; but they disapprove of the application of the same measure of justice to themselves. They arbitrarily repeal those well-tried laws of Solon, enacted by their forefathers, and expect you to obey laws of their own, proposed to the detriment of the community. 24.143If, then, you decline to punish the men before you, in a very little time the People will be in slavery to those beasts of prey. But you may be sure, gentle men of the jury, that, if you are really very angry with them, their ferocity will soon be mitigated. If not, you will have plenty of ruffians to insult you under pretence of patriotic fervor.

24.144Let me now say a word, gentlemen of the jury, about the statute which, as I am informed, he intends to cite as a precedent and which he will claim to have followed in his own proposal. I mean the statute which contains these words: “Nor will I imprison any Athenian citizen who offers three sureties taxed in the same class as himself, except any person found guilty of conspiring to betray the city or to subvert popular government, or any tax-farmer or his surety or collector being in default.” Listen to my reply. 24.145I will say nothing about Androtion himself dragging people to prison and putting them in irons after the enactment of this law, but I must inform you to whom it really applies. This statute, gentlemen of the Jury, is not intended for the protection of people who have stood their trial and argued their case, but for those who are still untried and its purpose is that they shall not plead at a disadvantage, or even without any preparation at all, because they have been sent to jail. But Timocrates is going to speak to you of regulations made for untried culprits, as though they had been framed to include everybody. 24.146Let me give you a proof that my account of the matter is correct. It would not have been lawful note for you, gentlemen of the jury, to assess any penalty, corporal or pecuniary,for imprisonment is a corporal punishment, and therefore you could not have inflicted it as a penalty, nor could it have been provided by statute, in cases where information is laid or summary arrest is allowed, that “the Eleven shall put in the stocks any man against whom information is laid, or who has been arrested,” if it had been unlawful to imprison any offenders other than those who conspire to betray the commonwealth, or to overthrow popular government, or tax-farmers who do not satisfy their contract. 24.147But as matters stand you must accept these facts as proving that imprisonment is lawful, otherwise penal sentences would at once have been entirely inoperative. In the second place, gentlemen of the jury, the formula, “I will not imprison any Athenian citizen,” is not in itself a statute; it is merely a phrase in the written oath taken by the Council, to prevent politicians who are in the Council from caballing to commit any citizen to prison. 24.148Solon therefore, wishing to deprive the Council of authority to imprison, included this formula in the Councillors' oath; but he did not include it in the judicial oath. He thought it right that a Court of Justice should have unlimited authority, and that the convicted criminal should submit to any punishment ordered by the court. To make good this view the clerk will read the judicial oath of the Court of Heliaea. Read. 24.149The Oath of the Heliasts

I will give verdict in accordance with the statutes and decrees of the People of Athens and of the Council of Five-hundred. I will not vote for tyranny or oligarchy. If any man try to subvert the Athenian democracy or make any speech or any proposal in contravention thereof I will not comply. I will not allow private debts to be cancelled, nor lands nor houses belonging to Athenian citizens to be redistributed. I will not restore exiles or persons under sentence of death. I will not expel, nor suffer another to expel, persons here resident in contravention of the statutes and decrees of the Athenian People or of the Council. 24.150I will not confirm the appointment to any office of any person still subject to audit in respect of any other office, to wit the offices of the nine Archons or of the Recorder or any other office for which a ballot is taken on the same day as for the nine Archons, or the office of Marshal, or ambassador, or member of the Allied Congress. I will not suffer the same man to hold the same office twice, or two offices in the same year. I will not take bribes in respect of my judicial action, nor shall any other man or woman accept bribes for me with my knowledge by any subterfuge or trick whatsoever. 24.151I am not less than thirty years old. I will give impartial hearing to prosecutor and defendant alike, and I will give my verdict strictly on the charge named in the prosecution. The juror shall swear by Zeus, Poseidon, and Demeter, and shall invoke destruction upon himself and his household if he in any way transgress this oath, and shall pray that his prosperity may depend upon his loyal observance thereof.

The oath, gentlemen of the jury, does not contain the words “I will not imprison any Athenian citizen.” The courts alone decide every question brought to trial; and they have full authority to pass sentence of imprisonment, or any other sentence they please.

24.152That you are empowered to pass sentence of imprisonment I prove by this argument; and I take it that everybody will agree that to invalidate judicial decisions is monstrous, impious, and subversive of popular government. Our commonwealth, gentlemen of the jury, is administered by laws and by votes of the people; and if once decisions by vote are repealed by a new law, where will be the end of it? Can we justly call this thing a law? Is it not rather the negation of law? Does not such a lawgiver merit our strongest resentment? 24.153Indeed in my view he merits the severest punishment, not merely for proposing this law, but for revealing to everyone else a method of destroying the courts of Justice, restoring exiles, and introducing every sort of atrocity. If the author of this law goes on his way rejoicing, what is there, gentlemen of the jury, to prevent another man from coming forward to overthrow our most powerful institutions with a fresh statute? 24.154In my opinion, nothing. I have been told that in time past popular government was overthrown in this way, when indictments for illegal legislation were abolished, and courts of justice were stripped of authority. Someone may perhaps object that, when I talk of subverting popular government, I am ignoring the difference of conditions between that time and this. Yes, but no man ought even to drop the seed of such a policy in our commonwealth, though for the moment it may not germinate; rather should every man who by word or deed attempts anything of the kind be brought to justice.

24.155It is also proper that you should be informed how craftily he laid his plans to injure you. Having observed that everybody, whether in public life or outside it, constantly attributes all the prosperity of Athens to her laws, he began to consider how he could destroy those laws without detection, and how, even if caught in the act, he might be thought to have done nothing formidable or presumptuous. 24.156He invented the method which he has actually employed, that of overthrowing old laws by a new one, in the hope that his iniquities might be described as preservative. It is true that the city is preserved by laws; and the thing he introduced, though widely different from other laws, certainly was a law. He saw that the beneficent associations of that name were bound to win your approval; and he did not choose to see that in its actual effect it would be found very different. 24.157But tell me this,—is there any chairman or any president who would ever have put to the vote the proposals contained in his law? I should say, none. Then how did the thing slip through? He gave the name of law to his own knaveries. For these men do not injure you artlessly or casually, but deliberately and of set purpose; and I do not mean these men alone, but a great company of politicians, who will shortly appear and reinforce the defence,—not, I need hardly say, because they want to oblige Timocrates,—why should they?—but because every man of them imagines that Timocrates' law will serve his own purposes. As these people, then, rally round one another to your prejudice, so it is your business to rally round yourselves. 24.158Somebody asked him for what purpose he had chosen to bring forward such a proposal, and tried to explain to him that he had a difficult task before him in this trial. His reply was: “You talk like a fool. Androtion will be there to help me; and he has thought out at leisure such fine arguments on every point, that I am quite certain that no harm will come to me from this indictment.” 24.159I am simply amazed at the effrontery of the pair of them,—of Timocrates, if he calls Androtion, and of Androtion, if he appears and speaks for the defence; for, of course, you will then have the clearest testimony that Timocrates proposed his law for the special benefit of Androtion, not as a law of general application. Nevertheless, it will be useful to you to hear a brief account of Androtion's political performances, including those in which the defendant took part, and for which he, no less than the other, should be the just object of your detestation. I will tell you nothing that you have heard already, unless indeed any of you were in court at the trials of Euctemon.

24.160Let us first of all inquire into the exploit on which he chiefly prides himself,—his collection of the money which he extracted from all of you, with the help of this honorable gentleman. Having accused Euctemon of retaining revenue money in his own hands, he promised that he would either make good the charge, or pay the money out of his own pocket; and on that pretext he turned out a magistrate appointed by lot, and insinuated himself into the tax-collecting business. He also proposed the appointment of Timocrates, pleading his own ill-health; “I shall be glad of his help in the work of the office,” he said. 24.161He made a speech to the people on that occasion, advising you that you had the choice of three courses, either to break up the processional plate, or to pay your taxes over again, or to recover arrears from defaulters. You naturally preferred to collect your debts; and as by virtue of his promises he had the upper hand, and enjoyed special powers to suit the emergency, he did not think proper to observe the statutes made and provided for such business, nor, if he considered them unsatisfactory, to propose new ones. Instead of that, he moved at the Assembly some truculent and unconstitutional decrees, and used those decrees for jobbery, with Timocrates as his jackal. 24.162With the help of this man he has stolen a great deal of your property, for he had included in his decree an order that the police-magistrates, the receivers, and their clerks, should all follow his instructions. Taking these officers with him, he proceeded to invade your dwelling-houses; and you, Timocrates, were the only one of his colleagues, though there were ten of them, who went with him. And let no one suppose that I am hinting that payment ought not to be exacted from defaulters. It ought; but how? As the law directs, and disinterestedly; that is the democratic way. Men of Athens, you got far less benefit from the five talents that this man collected, than injury from the practices that he introduced into your government. 24.163For if you care to inquire why a man would rather live under democracy than under oligarchy, you will find that the most obvious reason is that under democracy things are done more considerately. I will not insist that the conduct of these men was more outrageous and intolerable than under any oligarchy, no matter where. But take our own city: at what time was the greatest severity practised here? I am sure you will all reply, in the days of the Thirty Tyrants. 24.164And yet, even at that time, as we are told, no man who had concealed himself in his own house was deprived of his security; indeed, the particular charge brought against the Thirty is that they wrongfully carried men to jail from the market-place. But these men carried their atrocity to far greater lengths than that, insomuch that, under democratic government, they made every man's house his prison, bringing the police into our very homes. 24.165What do you think of this, men of Athens? A poor man, or, for the matter of that, a rich man, who had spent a great deal and was, perhaps, in a certain sense short of money, was not only afraid to show himself in the market-place, but found it unsafe even to stay at home. And to think that Androtion was responsible for those fears,—Androtion, whose past life and conduct disqualify him for seeking satisfaction at law even for himself, much more for imposing Property-taxes for the State. 24.166If anyone asked him,—or asked you, Timocrates, the apologist and abettor of that gang,—whether our property or our persons are amenable to taxation, you would reply, if you chose to tell the truth, our property, because it is from our property that we pay. Then why, you unparalleled scoundrels, instead of confiscating estates and houses, and putting them on the schedule, did you imprison and maltreat men who were full citizens, as well as those unhappy aliens, whom you treated more outrageously than your own domestic slaves? 24.167If, gentlemen of the jury, you will turn over in your minds the question what is the difference between being a slave and being a free man, you will find that the biggest difference is that the body of a slave is made responsible for all his misdeeds, whereas corporal punishment is the last penalty to inflict on a free man. These men reversed that principle, and applied punishment to the bodies of their victims, as though they were bondservants. 24.168Androtion's behavior towards you was so unfair and so greedy that, whilst approving the conduct of his own father, who had been confined in jail for a debt to the State and made his escape without payment or trial, he thought it quite proper that any other citizen, who was unable to pay out of his own resources, should be dragged by him from his home to the jail and there imprisoned. 24.169And Timocrates, at the time when he was levying double payment, would never have consented to accept bail, I do not say till the ninth presidency, but even for a single day, from any of us common people; we must either pay down the money or incontinently be lodged in prison. He used to hand over to the police even a man who had never been condemned in any court. Yet today he has dared, taking full responsibility, to introduce a law to enable persons on whom you have passed sentence, to go where they will in freedom.

24.170Nevertheless they will allege that both then and now they were acting in your interests. Will you then accept their exploits as due to zeal in your interests? Or will you indulgently tolerate the handiwork of their audacity and wickedness? No, men of Athens; you ought to abhor such men rather than liberate them. He who claims your indulgence as having acted for the good of the commonwealth must be shown to possess the spirit of the common wealth. 24.171That spirit is a spirit of compassion for the helpless, and of resistance to the intimidation of the strong and powerful; it does not inspire brutal treatment of the populace, and subservience to the potentates of the day.—And such is your conduct, Timocrates; and therefore the jury will have better reason to refuse you a hearing and condemn you to death than to acquit you for the sake of Androtion.

24.172However, I will make it quite clear to you without more ado that they did not carry out those exactions for your benefit. If they were asked whether, in their opinion, the greater injury is done to the commonwealth by tillers of the soil, who live frugally, but, because of the cost of maintaining their children, or of household expenses, or of other public burdens, are behindhand with their taxes, or by people who plunder and squander the money of willing taxpayers and the revenue that comes from our allies, I am sure that, for all their hardihood, they would never have the audacity to reply that those who fail to contribute their own money are worse transgressors than those who embezzle public money. 24.173—What then is the reason, Timocrates and Androtion, that, though one of you has taken part in public life for more than thirty years, though during that time many commanders have defrauded the commonwealth, and many politicians as well, who have been tried in this court, and though some of them have suffered death for their crimes, and others have condemned themselves by slipping away and disappearing altogether, neither of you ever once appeared as prosecutor of those offenders, or expressed any indignation at the wrongs of the city, but made your first exhibition of anxiety for our welfare in an affair which involved harsh treatment of a great many people? 24.174—Do you wish me to tell you the reason, men of Athens? These men share in the frauds that certain persons practise on you, and they also get their pickings from the collection of revenue. In their insatiable greed they reap a double harvest from the State. For it is not an easier matter to make enemies of a multitude of petty offenders than of a few big offenders; neither of course is it a more popular thing to have an eye for the sins of the many than for the sins of the few. 24.175However, the reason is what I am telling you. You must, therefore, take these facts into account, and, bearing in mind their several misdeeds, punish every one of them as soon as you have caught him. Never mind how long ago the offence was committed; consider only whether they committed it. If you are indulgent today to crimes that aroused your indignation then, it will look as though you sentenced them to repay the money because you were angry, not because you suffered any wrong. For to do something spiteful on the spur of the moment to the man who has hurt you is a symptom of anger; if you are really aggrieved, you wait till you have the malefactor at your mercy, and then punish him. You must not let it be inferred from your placability today that you disregarded your oaths and gratified an unjust passion then. You ought to detest them; you ought to be impatient of the sound of the voice of either of those two men, whose public conduct has been what I describe.

24.176Yes, but, in spite of those public delinquencies, there was, it may be said, other business which they managed with credit. On the contrary, in every respect their behavior towards their fellow-citizens has been such that the story you have heard is the least of the reasons you have for hating them. What do you wish me to mention? How they repaired the processional ornaments? How they broke up the crowns? Their success as manufacturers of saucers? 24.177Why, for those performances alone, though they had committed no other fraud on the City, it seems to me that they deserve not one but three sentences of death; for they are guilty of sacrilege, of impiety, of embezzlement, of every monstrous crime. The greater part, then, of the speech by which Androtion threw dust in your eyes I will leave unnoticed; but, by alleging that the leaves of the crowns were rotten with age and falling off,—as though they were violet-leaves or rose-leaves, not leaves made of gold—he persuaded you to melt them down. Being appointed to perform that operation, he chose as his assistant Timocrates, the constant partner of his misdeeds. 24.178And then, in providing for the collection of taxes, he had put in a clause that the public accountant should attend. That was very honest of him; only every taxpayer was certain to check the accounts. But in dealing with the crowns that he was to break up, he left out that very proper regulation; he was himself orator, goldsmith, business-manager, and auditor of accounts. 24.179—Now if you, sir, had claimed our entire confidence in all your public business, your dishonesty would not have been equally manifest; but, seeing that in the matter of the taxes you laid down the just principle that the City must trust, not you, but her own servants, and then, when you took up another job, and were tampering with the consecrated plate, some of it dedicated before we were born, you forgot to provide the precaution that was taken at your own instance in respect of the tax-collection, is it not perfectly clear what you were aiming at? Of course it is. 24.180Again, men of Athens, consider those glorious and much-admired inscriptions that he has obliterated for all time, and the strange and blasphemous inscriptions that he has written in their stead. You all, I suppose, used to see the words written under the circlets of the crowns: “The Allies crowned the People for valor and righteousness,” or “The Allies dedicated to the Goddess of Athens a prize of victory”; or, from the several states of the Alliance, “Such-and-such a city crowned the People by whom they were delivered,” or “The liberated Euboeans,” for example, “crowned the People,” or again “Conon from the sea-fight with the Lacedaemonians,” “Chabrias from the sea-fight off Naxos.” 24.181Such, I say, were the inscriptions on the crowns. They were tokens of emulation and honorable ambition; but now they have vanished with the destruction of the crowns, and the saucers which that lewd fellow has had made in their place bear the inscription “ Made by direction of Androtion.” And so our temples contain gold plate marked with the name of a man whom the laws forbid to enter those temples in person because of his filthy life. Just like the old inscriptions,—Is it not?—and the same incentive to your ambitions! 24.182You may, then, mark three scandalous crimes committed by these persons. They have robbed the Goddess of her crowns. They have extinguished in the City that spirit of emulation that sprang from the achievements which the crowns, while in being, commemorated. They have deprived the donors of a great honor,—the credit of gratitude for benefits received. And after this long series of evil deeds they have grown so callous and so audacious that one of them expects you to acquit him for the sake of the other, and the other sits by his side and does not sink into the ground for shame at his conduct. 24.183Not only is he lost to shame when money is in question, but he is so dull-witted that he cannot see that crowns are a symbol of merit, but saucers and the like only of wealth; that every crown, however small, implies the same regard for honor as if it were large; that drinking-cups and censers and such possessions, if very numerous, attach to their owners a sort of reputation for wealth; but, if a man takes pride in trifles, instead of winning some honor by them, he is disdained as a man of vulgar tastes. This man, then, after destroying the possessions of honor, has made the possessions of wealth mean and unworthy of your dignity. 24.184There is another thing that he did not understand, that the Athenian democracy, never eager to acquire riches, coveted glory more than any other possession in the world. Here is the proof: once they possessed greater wealth than any other Hellenic people, but they spent it all for love of honor; they laid their private fortunes under contribution, and recoiled from no peril for glory's sake. Hence the People inherits possessions that will never die; on the one hand the memory of their achievements, on the other, the beauty of the memorials set up in their honor,—yonder Gate-houses, the Parthenon, the porticoes, the docks—not a couple of jugs, or three or four bits of gold plate, weighing a pound apiece, which you, Timocrates, will propose to melt down again whenever the whim takes you. 24.185To dedicate those buildings they did not tithe themselves, nor fulfil the imprecations of their enemies by doubling the income-tax; nor was their policy ever guided by such advisers as you. No, they conquered their enemies, they fulfilled the prayers of every sound-hearted man by establishing concord throughout the city, and so they have bequeathed to us their imperishable glory,and excluded from the marketplace men whose habits of life were what yours have always been. 24.186But you, men of Athens, have grown so extremely good-natured and pliable, that, with those examples ever before you, you do not imitate them,—and Androtion is the repairer of your processional plate. Androtion! Gracious Heavens! Do you think impiety could go further than that? I hold that the man who is to enter the holy places, to lay hands on the vessels of lustration and the sacrificial baskets, and to become the director of divine worship, ought not to be pure for a prescribed number of days only his whole life should have been kept pure of the habits that have polluted the life of Androtion.

24.187Of Androtion I may speak at greater length hereafter. As for what he will say in support of Timocrates, I have still much more to say, but I will refrain. I am sure that he will not be able to deny that this law is undesirable, that it was introduced unconstitutionally, and that it is iniquitous in every respect; but I understand that he alleges that the money has now been paid in full by Androtion, Glaucetes, and Melanopus, and that he would be most infamously treated if, when the people on whose behalf he is accused of proposing his law have made full restitution, he should nevertheless be convicted. 24.188In my judgement, it is not open to him to make the slightest use of that plea.—If you, sir, admit that you did bring in your law on behalf of the persons who, as you say, have now done their duty, you must clearly be found guilty on this count,—that statutes still valid distinctly forbid you to introduce a law that does not apply equally to every citizen; and the jury have sworn to give judgement in accordance with those statutes. 24.189On the other hand, if you say that you legislated for the general good, you must not plead the payment made by these men,—it has nothing to do with your law,—you must prove that the law itself is acceptable and well conceived. That is the motive you allege; that is what I deny, and have therefore indicted you; that is the issue which the jury is to decide.—I should, indeed, have no difficulty in proving that respect for law is by no means the reason why these persons have paid their debt; but as that is not the question on which the jury have to vote, why trouble them by discussing it now?

24.190He will not, I suppose, spare you the argument that it would be very hard on him to be punished for proposing that no Athenian citizen shall be sent to jail; and that it is for the benefit more especially of people without influence that laws should be as merciful and humane as possible. To avoid being led astray, you will do well to listen to a brief rejoinder to that plea. 24.191For when he uses the phrase, “that no Athenian citizen shall be sent to jail,” do not forget that he is lying. That is not his proposal; it is that you jurors shall lose your control over penalties. He is trying to establish the right of appeal against a verdict returned on oath, after argument and trial. Do not let him pick out of his law and read a few phrases that have a benevolent sound to the ear let him produce the whole statute, clause by clause, and allow you to consider its effects. You will find that it is what I describe, not what he pretends. 24.192Again, with regard to the plea that merciful and humane laws are good for the common people, you must consider this. There are two sorts of problems, men of Athens, with which the laws of all nations are concerned. First, what are the principles under which we associate with one another, have dealings with one another, define the obligations of private life, and, in general, order our social relations? Secondly, what are the duties that every man among us owes to the commonwealth, if he chooses to take part in public life and professes any concern for the State? 24.193Now it is to the advantage of the common people that laws of the former category, laws of private intercourse, shall be distinguished by clemency and humanity. On the other hand it is to your common advantage that laws of the second class, the laws that govern our relations to the State, shall be trenchant and peremptory, because, if they are so, politicians will not do so much harm to the commonalty. Therefore, when he makes use of this plea, refute it by telling him that he is introducing clemency, not into the laws that benefit you, but into the laws that intimidate politicians.

24.194It would take a long speech to prove, point by point, that everything he will say will be intended to hoodwink and mislead you. Most of his topics I will pass over, but I will mention one leading point which you will bear in mind. Watch all his pleas, however various, and see if he will be able to advance one to prove his contention that a legislator may justly make the same ordinance for bygone issues, already determined, as for cases yet to come. Every clause of his law is infamous and outrageous; but that provision is the most outrageous and unconstitutional of all. 24.195But, if neither the defendant nor any other man can make good that contention, you must clearly recognize that you are being deluded, and you must ask yourselves how it ever occurred to his mind to legislate in this fashion.—You did not bring in your law gratuitously, Timocrates. No, indeed! far from it. You can offer no excuse for daring to introduce such a measure, except that cursed greediness of yours. Not one of these men is your kinsman, or a member of your household, or has any natural claim on you. 24.196Nor can you plead that you took compassion on ill-used men, and therefore resolved to help them. That long after date they should restore money belonging to the citizens, reluctantly, unwillingly, and after conviction in three courts of justice,—you certainly never thought that ill-usage. That means ill-conduct, and should rather provoke our indignation than incline us to pity. Nor do you take pity on them because a humane and considerate disposition is a peculiar trait of your character. 24.197Compassion for Androtion, Glaucetes, and Melanopus, because they have to repay stolen money, shows a temper quite different from your refusal of compassion to everyone of the many persons here present, and of all the other citizens, whose houses you invaded with police-magistrates, receivers, and clerks at your heels; with demolishing their front-doors, dragging their bed-clothes from under them, and levying distraint on a man's maidservant, if he was living with her; and that is how you and Androtion were employed for a whole twelve-month. 24.198—Yes, it was you citizens who were the more infamously ill-used;—and as for you, you reprobate, you had far more reason to pity your fellow-citizens, who, thanks to you speech-makers, never get a moment's respite from taxpaying. Even that is not enough they are compelled to pay double, compelled by you and Androtion, who never paid income-tax in your lives. 24.199—And yet this fellow was so self-confident,—as though he could never be brought to justice for his doings,—that, with ten colleagues in office, he alone joined Androtion in making his return. Yes indeed; gratuitously and from purely unselfish motives, Timocrates provokes your hostility, introducing laws that contradict every statute, and that even, to crown all, contradict a statute of his own making! By our Lady, I think that even you must recognize his generosity!

24.200I will now tell you, without any hesitation, something that, in my opinion, deserves your sternest indignation. Men of Athens, while he is doing all this for money, while he has, to tell the truth, deliberately adopted the profession of paid agent, he does not spend his earnings on purposes that might claim the indulgence of anyone who heard of them. What purposes do I mean? Well, gentlemen of the jury, the defendant's father is in debt to the Treasury. I do not mention that by way of reproach, but because I cannot help it. And this dutiful son allows him to remain in debt! 24.201Here is a man who is going to inherit disfranchisement, if anything happens to his father, and yet does not think proper to pay the debt, but prefers to pocket the profit of his meanness so long as his father lives. Is such a man likely to keep his hands off anything?—For your own father you have no compassion; you do not think him ill-used because, while you are getting your pickings and making your profits out of the taxes you used to collect, out of the decrees you move, out of the laws you introduce, he is losing his citizen-rights for lack of a trifling sum of money. And yet you call yourself a compassionate man! 24.202—Ah, but he was a good manager for his sister. Why, if he had committed no other crime, he deserves destruction on that account alone. He has not given her in marriage, he has sold her. An enemy of yours from Corcyra, one of the faction now in power there, used to lodge at his house whenever he came here on embassy, and wanted to have his sister,—I will not say on what terms. He took the man's money, and he has given him the girl; and she is in Corcyra to this day. 24.203A man who pretends to have given his sister in marriage, but has really sold her for export; a man who supports his father's old age in the manner you know; a toad-eater who drafts decrees and does political jobs for hire,—now that you have caught him, will you not make an end of him? If not, we shall think, men of Athens, that you like lawsuits and vexations, and that you do not want to be quit of scoundrels.

24.204I am sure that you would all agree, if asked, that all evil-doers ought to be punished; but I will try to satisfy you that this malefactor in particular deserves punishment for introducing a law detrimental to the common people. A thief, or a cutpurse, or any rogue of that sort, in the first place really injures only the man who encounters him; it is out of his power to strip everybody, or steal everybody's property; and in the second place, he brings disgrace on no one's reputation or manner of life but his own. 24.205But if a man introduces a law by which unlimited license and immunity is granted to those who seek to defraud their fellow-citizens, he is guilty in respect of the whole city, and he brings disgrace upon everybody; for an infamous statute, when ratified, is a discredit to the government that enacted it and an injury to everyone who lives under it. Will you not, then, punish, when you have caught him, a man who is doing his utmost to injure you, and to pollute you with infamy? If not, what excuse will you have? 24.206The best way to ascertain with what far-reaching designs he has framed his law, and how inimical those designs are to the established constitution, is to reflect that this is just the way that all conspirators begin, when they are trying to overthrow democracy by innovations,—they first of all release all who were formerly by law suffering this penalty for some offence. 24.207Does not this man, then, deserve, if possible, not one but three sentences of death, because, standing by himself, and of course with no expectation of crushing you, but rather of meeting his own doom in this court, if you do justice as you ought, he nevertheless imitated that crime, and attempted to release men whom the tribunals have imprisoned, by his impudent enactment that if the penalty of imprisonment has already been inflicted, or if you hereafter inflict it, upon any man, that man shall be discharged from prison? 24.208Suppose that in a moment's time you were to hear an outcry hard by this court, and suppose that you were told that the jail had been thrown open and that the prisoners were escaping, there is not a man, however old or however apathetic, who would not rally to the rescue to the utmost of his power. And if someone came forward and informed you that the man who had let them out was the defendant, he would be incontinently arrested and executed without a hearing. 24.209Well, men of Athens, you hold in your power today this man, who has not done that deed in secret, but after beguiling and deceiving you has openly enacted a law that does not merely throw open but demolishes the prison, and that includes in that destruction the courts of justice as well. For of what use are either courts or prisons, if persons sentenced to imprisonment are set free, and if you are to get no benefit from any such sentence henceforward?

24.210You ought also to consider this point, that many Hellenic nations have often resolved by vote to adopt your laws; and in this you take an honorable pride, naturally; for there seems to me to be truth in an observation once made, as we are told, in this court, that all wise men regard laws as the character of the State. Therefore we should take pains that they be accounted as good as possible, and we should punish those who debase and pervert them; for, if they are impaired by your neglect, you will lose that high distinction, and will create an unfavorable reputation for your city. 24.211If you are justified in praising Solon and Draco, although you can credit neither of them with any public service except that they enacted beneficial and well-conceived statutes, it is surely right that you should visit men whose enactments are contrary to the spirit of those lawgivers with indignation and chastisement. But as to Timocrates I know that he brought in this law chiefly for his private advantage, because he felt that many of his political acts in your city deserve imprisonment.

24.212I would also like to repeat to you a saying attributed to Solon, when he was prosecuting a man who had carried an undesirable law. We are told that, after stating his other charges, he observed that in all, or nearly all, states there is a law that the penalty for any man who debases the currency is death. He proceeded to ask the jury whether they thought that a just and good law; 24.213and when the jury replied that they did, he said that in his opinion money had been invented by private persons for private transactions, but laws were the currency note of the State; and therefore if a man debased that currency, and introduced counterfeit, the jury had graver reason to abhor and punish that man than one who debased the currency of private citizens. 24.214By way of proof that it is a more heinous crime to debase laws than silver coinage, he added that many states that use without concealment silver alloyed with copper and lead are safe and sound and suffer no harm thereby; but that no nation that uses bad laws or permits the debasement of existing laws has ever escaped the consequence. Now that is the accusation to which Timocrates stands open today, and he may justly receive from you the punishment that is adequate to his guilt.

24.215While, therefore, you should be indignant with every man who brings in shameful and wicked laws, your indignation ought chiefly to be directed against those who vitiate the laws upon which depends the greatness, or the weakness, of the commonwealth. And what are they? The laws that avenge you upon evil-doers, and all the laws that confer certain honors on the well-conducted. 24.216If all men alike were zealous to serve the community, because they had become ambitious of the honors and rewards of such service, and if all were to recoil from noxious acts, through fear of the pains and penalties enacted for malefactors, could anything prevent our commonwealth from becoming very great? Does not Athens possess more war galleys than any other Hellenic city? Is she not rich in infantry and cavalry, in revenue, in military positions, in harbors? And how are those possessions preserved and consolidated? By the laws; for they are profitable to the community only so long as our public conduct conforms to the laws. 24.217If conditions were reversed, if there were no recompense for the virtuous, if evil-doers were to enjoy all the immunity that Timocrates has sought to enact, what utter confusion would be the natural result! For you may be quite sure that from these possessions that I have enumerated, even if they were twice as great as they now are, you would not then get an atom of advantage. Therefore the defendant is proved to be striving to do you wrong in respect of that law by which punishments are provided for would-be criminals.

24.218For all the reasons I have set before you, it is incumbent upon you to show your resentment, to chastise these men, and to make them an example to others. To be lenient to such offenders, or to convict them and then inflict a light penalty, is to habituate and train the greatest possible number to do you wrong.

Demosthenes, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [lemma count] [Dem.].
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