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<<Dem. 33 Dem. 34 (Greek) >>Dem. 35

Against Phormio

34.1The request that I shall make of you, men of the jury, is a fair one, that you should hear us with goodwill as we speak in our turn, note knowing well that we are wholly without experience in the art of speaking; and long as we have been frequenting your mart, and many as are the merchants to whom we have made loans, we have never until now appeared in any suit before you either as plaintiffs or as defendants. 34.2And you may be sure, men of Athens, that we should not even now have brought this action against Phormio, if we believed that the money which we lent him had been lost on the ship that was wrecked; we are not so shameless nor so unaccustomed to losses. But as many have kept taunting us, and especially those who were in Bosporus with Phormio, who knew that he had not lost the money together with the ship, we thought it a dreadful thing not to seek redress after being wronged as we had been by this man.

34.3With reference to the special plea my argument is a brief one. For even the defendants do not absolutely deny that a contract was made on your exchange note; but they claim that there exists no longer any obligation on their part due to the contract, for they have done nothing that contravenes the terms of the agreement. 34.4The laws, however, in accordance with which you sit as jurors, do not use this language. They do indeed allow the production of a special plea when there has been no contract at all at Athens or for the Athenian market; but if a man admits that a contract was made, yet contends that he has done everything that the contract requires, they bid him to make a defence on the merits of the case, and not to make the plaintiff a defendant. note Not but that I hope to prove from the facts of the case itself that this suit of mine is admissible. 34.5And I beg you, men of Athens, to consider what is admitted by these men, and what is disputed; for in this way you will best sift the question. They admit that they borrowed the money, and that they had contracts made to secure the loan; but they claim that they have paid the money to Lampis, the servant of Dio, in Bosporus. We, on our part, shall prove, not only that Phormio did not pay it, but that it was actually impossible for him to pay it. But I must recount to you a few of the things that happened at the outset.

34.6I, men of Athens, lent to this man, Phormio, twenty minae for the double voyage to Pontus and back, on the security of goods of twice that value, note and deposited a contract with Cittus the banker. But, although the contract required him to put on board the ship goods to the value of four thousand drachmae, he did the most outrageous thing possible. For while still in the Peiraeus he, without our knowledge, secured an additional loan of four thousand five hundred drachmae from Theodorus the Phoenician, and one of one thousand drachmae from Lampis the shipowner. 34.7And, whereas he was bound to purchase at Athens a cargo worth one hundred and fifteen minae, note if he was to perform for all his creditors what was written in their agreements, he purchased only a cargo worth five thousand five hundred drachmae, including the provisions; while his debts were seventy-five minae. This was the beginning of his fraud, men of Athens; he neither furnished security, nor put the goods on board the ship, although the agreement absolutely bade him do so.

Take the agreement, please.Agreement

Now take also the entry made by the customs-officers and the depositions.Entry of the Customs

34.8When he came, then, to Bosporus, having letters from me, which I had given him to deliver to my slave, who was spending the winter there, and to a partner of mine,—in which letter I had stated the sum which I had lent and the security, and bade them, as soon as the goods should be unshipped, to inspect them and keep an eye on them,—the fellow did not deliver to them the letters which he had received from me, in order that they might know nothing of what he was doing; and, finding that business in Bosporus was bad owing to the war which had broken out between Paerisades note and the Scythian, and that there was no market for the goods which he had brought, he was in great perplexity; for his creditors, who had lent him money for the outward voyage, were pressing him for payment. 34.9When, therefore, the shipowner bade him put on board according to the agreement the goods bought with my money, this fellow, who now alleges that he has paid the debt in full, said that he could not ship the goods because his trash was unsalable; and he bade him put to sea, saying that he himself would sail in another ship as soon as he should dispose of the cargo.

Please take this deposition.Deposition

34.10After this, men of Athens, the defendant was left in Bosporus, while Lampis put to sea, and was shipwrecked not far from the port; for although his ship was already overloaded, as we learn, he took on an additional deck-load of one thousand hides, which proved the cause of the loss of the vessel. He himself made his escape in the boat with the rest of Dio's servants, but he lost more than thirty note lives besides the cargo. There was much mourning in Bosporus when they learned of the loss of the ship, and everybody deemed this Phormio lucky in that he had not sailed with the others, nor put any goods on board the ship. The same story was told by the others and by Phormio himself.

Read me, please, these depositions.Depositions

34.11Lampis himself, to whom Phormio declares he had paid the gold (pray note this carefully), when I approached him as soon as he had returned to Athens after the shipwreck and asked him about these matters, said that Phormio did not put the goods on board the ship according to our agreement, nor had he himself received the gold from him at that time in Bosporus.

Read, please, the deposition of those who were present.Deposition

34.12Now, men of Athens, when this man Phormio reached Athens, after completing his voyage in safety on another ship, I approached him and demanded payment of the loan. And at the first, men of Athens, he did not in any instance make the statement which he now makes, but always agreed that he would pay; but after he had entered into an agreement with those who are now at his side and are advocates with him, he was then and there different and not at all the same man. 34.13When I saw that he was trying to cheat me, I went to Lampis and told him that Phormio was not doing what was right nor paying back the loan; and at the same time I asked him if he knew where Phormio was, in order that I might summon him. He bade me follow him, and we found the fellow at the perfumery shops; and I, having witnesses with me, served the summons. 34.14Lampis, men of Athens, was close at hand when I did this, yet he never ventured to say that he had received the money from Phormio, nor did he say, as he naturally would have done supposing his story to be true, “Chrysippus, you are mad. Why do you summon this man? He has paid me the money.” And not only did Lampis not say a word, but neither did Phormio himself venture to say anything, although Lampis was standing by his side, to whom he now declares he had paid the money. 34.15Yet, men of Athens, it would surely have been natural for him to say, “Why do you summon me, fellow? I have paid the money to this man who is standing here ”—and at the same time to call upon Lampis to corroborate his words. As it was, however, neither of them uttered a syllable on an occasion so opportune.

In proof that my words are true, take, please, the deposition of those who witnessed the summons.Deposition

34.16Now take the complaint in the action which I commenced against him last year, for this is the strongest possible proof that up to that time Phormio had never stated that he had paid the money to Lampis.Complaint

This action I commenced, men of Athens, basing my complaint upon nothing else than the report of Lampis, who denied that Phormio had put the goods on board the ship or that he himself had received the money. Do not imagine that I am so senseless, so absolutely crazy, as to have drawn up a complaint like this, if Lampis (whose words would prove my contention false) admitted that he had received the money.

34.17More than this, men of Athens, note another fact. These very men entered a special plea last year, but dared not assert in their plea that they had paid the money to Lampis.

Now, pray take the plea itself.Special Plea

You hear, men of Athens. Nowhere in the plea is it stated that Phormio had paid the money to Lampis, though I had expressly written in the complaint, which you heard a moment ago, that Phormio had not put the goods on board the ship nor paid the money. For what other witness, then, should you wait, when you have so significant a piece of evidence from these men themselves?

34.18When the suit was about to come into court, they begged us to refer it to an arbitrator; and we referred it by agreement to Theodotus, a privileged alien note Lampis after that, thinking that it would now, before an arbitrator, be safe for him to testify just as he pleased, divided my money with this fellow Phormio, and then gave testimony the very opposite of what he had stated before. 34.19For it is not the same thing, men of Athens, to give false testimony while face to face with you and to do so before an arbitrator. With you heavy indignation and severe penalty await those who bear false witness; but before an arbitrator they give what testimony they please without risk and without shame. When I expostulated and expressed strong indignation, men of Athens, at the effrontery of Lampis, 34.20and produced before the arbitrator the same testimony as I now produce before you—that, namely, of the persons who at the first went to him with me, when he stated that he had not received the money from Phormio, and that Phormio had not put the goods on board the ship—Lampis, being so plainly convicted of bearing false witness and of playing the rogue, admitted that he had made the statement to my partner here, note but declared that he was out of his mind when he made it. Now read me this deposition.Deposition

34.21 note Theodotus, men of Athens, after hearing us several times, and being convinced that Lampis was giving false testimony, did not dismiss the suit, but referred us to the court. He was loth to give an adverse decision because he was a friend of this man Phormio, as we afterwards learned, yet he hesitated to dismiss the suit lest he should himself commit perjury.

34.22Now, in the light of the facts themselves, consider in your own minds, men of the jury, what means the man was likely to have for discharging the debt. He sailed from this port without having put the goods on board the ship, and having no adequate security; on the contrary, he had made additional loans on the credit of the money lent by me. In Bosporus he found no market for his wares, and had difficulty in getting rid of those who had lent money for the outward-voyage. 34.23My partner here had lent him two thousand drachmae for the double voyage on terms that he should receive at Athens two thousand six hundred drachmae; but Phormio declares that he paid Lampis in Bosporus one hundred and twenty Cyzicene staters note(note this carefully) which he borrowed at the interest paid on loans secured by real property. Now interest on real security was sixteen and two-thirds percent, and the Cyzicene stater was worth there twenty-eight Attic drachmae. 34.24It is necessary that you should understand how large a sum he claims to have paid. A hundred and twenty staters amount to three thousand three hundred and sixty drachmae, and the interest at the land rate of sixteen and two-thirds percent on thirty-three minae and sixty drachmae is five hundred and sixty drachmae, and the total amount comes to so much. note 34.25Now, men of the jury, is there a man, or will the man ever be born, who, instead of twenty-six hundred drachmae would prefer to pay thirty minae and three hundred and sixty drachmae, and as interest five hundred and sixty drachmae by virtue of his loan, both which sums Phormio says he has paid Lampis, in all three thousand nine hundred and twenty drachmae? And when he might have paid the money in Athens, seeing that it had been lent for the double voyage, has he paid it in Bosporus, and too much by thirteen minae? 34.26And to the creditors who lent money for the outward voyage you had difficulty in paying the principal, though they sailed with you and kept pressing you for payment; yet to this man who was not present, you not only returned both principal and interest, but also paid the penalties arising from the agreement note though you were under no necessity of doing so? 34.27And you had no fear of those men, to whom their agreements gave the right of exacting payment in Bosporus, but declare that you had regard for the claims of my partner, though you wronged him at the outset by not putting on board the goods according to your agreement in setting out from Athens? And now that you have come back to the port where the loan was made, you do not hesitate to defraud the lender, though you claim to have done more than justice required in Bosporus, where you were not likely to be punished? 34.28All other men who borrow for the outward and homeward voyage, when they are about to set sail from their several ports, take care to have many witnesses present, and call upon them to attest that the lender's risk begins from that moment note; but you rely upon the single testimony of the very man who is your partner in the fraud. You did not bring as a witness my slave who was in Bosporus or my partner, nor did you deliver to them the letters which we gave into your charge, and in which were written instructions that they should keep close watch on you in whatever you might do! 34.29Why, men of Athens, what is there which a man of this stamp is not capable of doing, who, after receiving letters, did not deliver them in due and proper course? Or how can you fail to see that his own acts prove his guilt? Surely (O Earth and the Gods) when he was paying back so large a sum, and more than the amount of his loan, it was fitting that he should make it a much talked of event on the exchange and to invite all men to be present; but especially the servant and partner of Chrysippus. 34.30For you all know, I fancy, that men borrow with few witnesses, but, when they pay, they take care to have many witnesses present, that they may win a reputation for honesty in business dealings. But in your case, when you were paying back both the debt and the interest on both voyages, though you had used the money for the outward voyage only, and were adding thirteen minae besides, should you not have caused many witnesses to be present? Had you done so, there is not a single merchant who would have been held in higher esteem than you. 34.31But, as it was, instead of securing many witnesses to these acts you did everything you could that none should know, as though you were committing some crime! Again, had you been making payment to me, your creditor, in person, there would have been no need of witnesses, for you would have taken back the agreement and so got rid of the obligation; whereas in making payment, not to me, but to another on my behalf, and not at Athens but in Bosporus, when your agreement was deposited at Athens and with me, and when the man to whom you paid the money was mortal and about to undertake a voyage over such a stretch of sea, you called no one as a witness, whether slave or freeman. 34.32Yes, he says, for the agreement bade me pay the cash to the shipowner. note But it did not prevent you from summoning witnesses, or from delivering the letters! The parties here present note drew up two agreements with you in the matter of the loan, showing that they greatly distrusted you, but you assert that without a single witness you paid the gold to the shipowner, although you well know that an agreement against yourself was deposited at Athens with my colleague here!

34.33He says that the agreement bids him pay back the money, “when the ship reaches port in safety.” Yes, and it bids you also to put on board the ship the goods purchased, or else to pay a fine of five thousand drachmae. You ignore this clause in the agreement, but after having from the first violated its provisions by failing to put the goods on board, you raise a dispute about a single phrase in it, though you have by your own act rendered it null and void. For when you state that you did not put the goods on board in Bosporus, but paid the cash to the shipowner, why do you still go on talking about the ship? For you have had no share in the risk, since you put nothing on board. 34.34At first, men of Athens, he seized upon this excuse, pretending that he had shipped the goods; but when he saw that the falsity of this claim was likely to be exposed in many ways,—by the entry filed with the harbor-masters in Bosporus, and by the testimony of those who were staying in the port at the same time—then he changes his tack, enters into a conspiracy with Lampis, and declares that he has paid him the money in cash, 34.35finding a support for his plea in the fact that the agreement so ordered, and thinking that we should not find it easy to get at the truth regarding all that they did by themselves alone. And Lampis declares that all that he said to me note before he was corrupted by this Phormio was spoken when he was out of his head; but as soon as he got a share of my money, he declares that he is in his right mind and remembers everything perfectly!

34.36Now, men of the jury, if it were toward myself only that Lampis were showing contempt, it would be nothing to cause surprise; but in reality he has acted far more outrageously than Phormio toward you all. For when Paerisades had published a decree in Bosporus that whoever wished to transport grain to Athens for the Athenian market might export it free of duty, Lampis, who was at the time in Bosporus, obtained permission to export grain and the exemption from duty in the name of the state; and having loaded a large vessel with grain, carried it to Acanthus note and there disposed of it,—he, who had made himself the partner of Phormio here with our money. 34.37And he did this, men of the jury, though he was resident at Athens, and had a wife and children here, and although the laws have prescribed the severest penalties if anyone resident at Athens should transport grain to any other place than to the Athenian market; besides, he did this at a critical time, when those of you who dwelt in the city were having their barley-meal measured out to them in the Odeum, note and those who dwelt in Peiraeus were receiving their loaves at an obol each in the dockyard and in the long-porch, note having their meal measured out to them a gallon note at a time, and being nearly trampled to death.

In proof that my words are true, take, please, the deposition and the law.Deposition

34.38Phormio, then, with the help of this fellow as his accomplice and witness, thinks proper to rob us of our money—us, who have continually brought grain to your market, and who in three crises which have come upon the state, during which you put to the test those who were of service to the people, have not once been found wanting. Nay, when Alexander entered Thebes, note we made you a free gift of a talent in cash; 34.39and when grain earlier advanced in price and reached sixteen drachmae, we imported more than ten thousand medimni of wheat, and measured it out to you at the normal price of five drachmae a medimnus, and you all know that you had this measured out to you in the Pompeium. note And last year my brother and I made a free gift of a talent to buy grain for the people.

Read, please, the depositions which establish these facts.Depositions

34.40Surely, if any inference may be based upon these facts, it is not likely that we should freely give such large sums in order to win a good name among you, and then should bring a false accusation against Phormio in order to throw away even the reputation for honorable dealing which we had won. It is right, therefore, that you should come to our aid, men of the jury. I have shown you that Phormio in the first place did not put on board the vessel goods to the value of all the loans which he had secured at Athens, and that with the proceeds from the goods sold in Bosporus he with difficulty satisfied his creditors who had lent money for the outward voyage; 34.41further, that he was not well off, and not so foolish as to pay thirty-nine minae instead of twenty-six hundred drachmae; and besides all this, that when, as he says, he paid the money to Lampis he summoned neither my slave nor my partner, who was at the time in Bosporus, as a witness. Again, Lampis himself is shown to have testified to me, before he was corrupted by Phormio, that he had not received the money. 34.42Yet, note if Phormio were thus to prove his case point by point, I do not see what better defence he could have made. But that the action is admissible the law itself solemnly declares, when it maintains that mercantile actions are those for contracts made at Athens or for the Athenian market, and not only those made at Athens, but all that are made for the purpose of a voyage to Athens.

Please take the laws.Laws

34.43That the contract has been entered into between Phormio and myself at Athens even our opponents themselves do not deny, but they enter a special plea alleging that the action is not admissible. But to what tribunal shall we come, men of the jury, if not to you, since it was here in Athens that we made our contract? It would be hard indeed that, if a wrong had been done me in connection with a voyage to Athens, I should be able to get satisfaction from Phormio in your court, but, when the contract has been made in your market, these men should say that they will not be tried before you. 34.44When we referred the case to Theodotus for arbitration, they admitted that my action against them was admissible; but now they say what is the direct opposite of what they have themselves before admitted; as if, forsooth, it were proper that they should be tried before Theodotus, the privileged alien, without a special plea, but, when we enter the Athenian court, the action should no longer be admissible. 34.45I for my part am trying to conceive what in the world he would have written in the special plea, if Theodotus had dismissed the suit, when now, after Theodotus has decreed that we should go into court, he declares that the action is not one that can be brought before you, to whom Theodotus bade us go. note Surely I should suffer most cruel treatment if, when the laws declare that suits growing out of contracts made at Athens shall be brought before the Thesmothetae, you, who have sworn to decide according to the laws, should dismiss the suit.

34.46That we lent the money is attested by the agreement, and by Phormio himself; that it has been repaid is attested by no one except Lampis, who is an accomplice in the crime. Phormio claims to prove the payment on the testimony of Lampis alone, but I adduce Lampis and those who heard him declare that he had not received the money. Further, Phormio is in a position to bring my witnesses to trial, if he maintains that their testimony is false, but I have no means of dealing with his witnesses, who say they know that Lampis testified that he had received the money. If Lampis's own deposition had been put into court, note these men would perhaps have said that I ought to prosecute him for giving false testimony; but, as it is, I have not this deposition, and Phormio thinks he should get off unscathed, since he has left no valid security for the verdict which he urges you to pronounce. note 34.47Would it not indeed be absurd if, when Phormio admits that he borrowed, but alleges that he has made payment, you should make of none effect that which he himself admits and by your vote give effect to what is under dispute? And if, when Lampis, on whose testimony my opponent relies, after at first denying that he had received the money, now testifies to the contrary, you should determine that he has received it, although there are no witnesses to support the fact? 34.48And if you refuse to admit as proofs all that he truthfully stated, and should count more worthy of belief the lies which he told after he had been corrupted? Verily, men of Athens, it is far more just to draw conclusions from statements made in the first instance than from those subsequently fabricated; for the former he made truthfully, and not with ulterior purpose, while the later ones are lies designed to further his interests.

34.49Remember, men of Athens, that even Lampis himself never denied saying that he had not received the money; he admitted that he so stated, but declared he was not in his right mind at the time. But would it not be absurd for you to accept as worthy of credit that part of his testimony which favors the defrauding party, and to discredit that which favors the party defrauded? 34.50Nay, men of the jury, I beg you, do not do this. You are the same persons who punished with death, when he had been impeached before the assembly, a man who obtained large additional loans on your exchange, and did not deliver to his creditors their securities, though he was a citizen and the son of a man who had been general. 34.51For you hold that such people not only wrong those who do business with them, but also do a public injury to your mart; and you are right in holding this view. For the resources required by those who engage in trade come not from those who borrow, but from those who lend; and neither ship nor shipowner nor passenger can put to sea, if you take away the part contributed by those who lend. 34.52In the laws there are many excellent provisions for their protection. It is your duty to show that you aid the laws in righting abuses, and that you make no concession to wrongdoers, in order that you may derive the greatest possible benefit from your market. You will do so, if you protect those who risk their money, and do not allow them to be defrauded by monsters such as these.

I have said all that it was in my power to say. But I am ready to call another of my friends, if you so bid.

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