|Demosthenes, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [lemma count] [Dem.].|
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22.1Gentlemen of the jury, Euctemon finding himself wronged by Androtion, thinks it his duty to obtain satisfaction for himself and at the same time to up hold the constitution; and that is what I also shall essay to do, if I am equal to the task. As a matter of fact the outrages that Euctemon has endured, many and serious and utterly illegal as they were, are slighter than the trouble that Androtion has caused me. Euctemon was the object of a plot to get money out of him and to eject him unfairly from an office of your appointment; but if the charges that Androtion trumped up against me had been accepted in your courts, not a single living man would have opened his door to me, 22.2for he accused me of things that anyone would have shrunk from mentioning, unless he were a man of the same stamp as himself, saying that I had killed my own father. He also concocted a public indictment for impiety, not against me directly, but against my uncle, whom he brought to trial, charging him with impiety for associating with me, as though I had committed the alleged acts, and if it had ended in my uncle's conviction, who would have suffered more grievously at the defendant's hands than I? For who, whether friend or stranger, would have consented to have any dealings with me? What state would have admitted within its borders a man deemed guilty of such impiety? Not a single one. 22.3Of these charges, then, I cleared myself in your court, not by a narrow margin but so completely that my accuser failed to obtain a fifth of the votes; and upon Androtion I shall endeavor, with your help, to avenge myself today and on every other occasion.
I shall pass over a great deal that I might say about private matters; but there are other matters on which you are now going to give your votes, including not a few injuries which the defendant has done you in dealing as a citizen with public affairs, and these, which Euctemon chose to pass over, but which it is better for you to understand, I shall now try to explain briefly.22.4If I could see any straightforward defence that he could offer to these charges, I would not make any reference to them; but I am quite certain that he cannot have any simple and honest plea to put forward, but will try to hoodwink you, inventing malicious answers to each charge and so leading you astray. For he is a skillful rhetorician, men of
22.5There is one plea which he thinks a clever defence of the omission of the preliminary decree. There is a law, he says, that if the Council by its performance of its duties seems to deserve a reward, that reward shall be presented by the people. That question, he says, the chairman of the Assembly put, the people voted, and it was carried. In this case, he says, there is no need of a preliminary decree, because what was done was in accordance with law. But I take the exactly contrary view-and I think you will agree with me—that the preliminary decrees should only be proposed concerning matters prescribed by the laws, because, where no laws are laid down, surely no proposal whatever is admissible. 22.6Now he will say that all the Councils that have ever received a reward from you, have received it in this way, and that in no case has a preliminary decree ever been passed. But I think—or rather, I am certain—that this statement is untrue. Even if it were absolutely true, yet surely where the law says the opposite, we ought not to transgress the law now because it has often been transgressed before; on the contrary we ought to enforce the observance of the law, beginning with you, Androtion, first. 22.7You must not tell us that this has often been done before; you must show us that it is right to do it. If the practice has at any time been contrary to the laws and you have only followed precedent, you cannot in fairness escape, but ought all the more to be convicted; for if any of the former delinquents had been condemned, you would never have proposed the resolution, and in the same way, if you are punished now, no one else will propose it in the future.
22.8Coming now to the law which explicitly denies to the Council the right to ask a reward, if they have not built the warships, it is worth while to hear the defence that he will set up, and to get a clear view of the shamelessness of his behavior from the arguments that he attempts to use. The law, he says, forbids the Council to ask for the reward, if they have not built the ships. But, he adds, the law nowhere prohibits the Assembly from giving it. “If I gave it at their request, my motion was illegal, but if I have never mentioned the ships in the whole of my decree, but give other grounds for granting a crown to the Council, where is the illegality of my motion?” 22.9It is surely not difficult for the jury to find the right answer to this: that in the first place the Committee of the Council and the chairman, who puts these proposals to the vote, duly put the question and called for a show of hands—“those who are of opinion that the Council have deserved a reward, to vote aye; on the contrary, no.” Yet surely men who neither ask nor expect a reward should never have put the question at all. 22.10Besides this, when Meidias and others brought certain accusations against the Council, the Councillors fairly leaped up on to the platform and begged not to be robbed of their reward. There is no need for me to tell the jury this, for you were present in the Assembly and know what happened there. So when he says that the Council did not ask for it, have that answer ready for him. But I will also prove to you that the people are forbidden by the law to give the reward, if the Council have not built the ships. 22.11For the law, that the Council should not ask for the reward if they have not built the war ships, was framed in that way, men of
22.12Now there is another question, men of
22.17That this is not a violation of the law, he could not possibly assert nor could you be brought to believe it. But I understand that he will put before you some such plea as this—that the Council was not to blame for the shortage of ships, but the treasurer of the shipbuilders, who absconded with two and a half talents, and so the business ended in a fiasco. But I must first express my surprise that he should have demanded a crown for the Council to reward a fiasco. I thought such honors were reserved for successes. Next, I have another consideration to put before you. 22.18I submit that it is not fair to combine the two pleas, that the gift was not illegal and that the Council are not responsible for the lack of ships. For if it is right to give them the reward even when they have not built the ships, what need is there to say who is responsible for the omission? But if it is not right, why were the Council any the more entitled to it, because he can point to this or that man as responsible for the shortage? 22.19Apart from that, it seems to me that such arguments offer you a choice, whether you think you ought to hear excuses and pleas from men who have done you harm, or whether you ought to have some ships. For if you accept the defendant's plea, it will be clear to every future Council that their business is to find you plausible excuses, not to build you ships, with the result that your money will be spent, but there will be no ships for you. 22.20But if, as the law says and as your oath enjoins, you sternly and absolutely reject their excuses, and make it clear that you have withheld the reward because they have not built the ships, then every Council, men of
22.21Again, with regard to the law note of prostitution, he tries to make out that we are insulting him and attacking him with baseless calumnies. He says too that if we believed the charges true, we ought to have faced him in the Court of the Thesmothetae, and asked a fine of a thousand drachmas if our charges had been proved false; as it is, we are trying to hoodwink you by accusations and idle abuse, and are confusing you by matters outside your jurisdiction. 22.22But I think you ought first of all to reflect in your own minds that abuse and accusation are very far removed from proof. It is an accusation when one makes a bare statement without supplying grounds for believing it; it is proof when one at the same time demonstrates the truth of one's statements. Those, therefore, who are proving a case must supply evidence sufficient to establish its credibility with you, or must advance reasonable arguments, or must produce witnesses. Of some facts it is impossible to put eye-witnesses in the box, but if one can establish any of these tests, you rightly consider in every case that you have a sufficient proof of the truth. 22.23We then base our proof, not on probabilities nor on circumstantial evidence, but on a witness from whom the defendant may easily obtain satisfaction—a man who has prepared a document containing an account of the defendant's life, and who makes himself responsible for this evidence. So that when Androtion says that this is mere abuse and accusation, reply that this is proof, but that abuse and accusation describe his own performance; and when he says that we ought to have denounced him to the Thesmothetae, reply that we intend to do so, and that we are now quite properly citing this statute. 22.24For if we were bringing these charges against him in any other kind of trial, he could have just cause of complaint; but if the present trial is one that concerns illegal proposals, and if men who have led a life like his are forbidden by the laws to make even a legal proposal, and if we prove that he has not only made an illegal proposal but has also led an illegal life, then is it not proper to cite this law which determines his illegal status?
22.25Moreover you should grasp this fact, that Solon, who framed these and most of our other laws, was a very different kind of legislator from the defendant, and provided not one, but many modes of procedure for those who wish to obtain redress for various wrongs. For he knew, I think, that for all the citizens to be equally clever, or bold, or moderate folk, was impossible. If, then, he was going to frame the laws to satisfy the moderate man's claim to redress, many rascals, he reflected, would get off scot-free, but if he framed them in the interests of the bold and the clever speakers, the plain citizen would not be able to obtain redress in the same way as they would. 22.26But he thought that no one should be debarred from obtaining redress in whatever way he can best do so. How then will this be ensured? By granting many modes of legal procedure to the injured parties. Take a case of theft. Are you a strong man, confident in yourself? Arrest the thief; only you are risking a thousand drachmas. Are you rather weak? Guide the Archons to him, and they will do the rest. Are you afraid even to do this? Bring a written indictment. 22.27Do you distrust yourself, and are you a poor man, unable to find the thousand drachmas? Sue him for theft before a public arbitrator, and you will risk nothing. In the same way for impiety you can arrest, or indict, or sue before the Eumolpidae, or give information to the King-Archon. And in the same way, or nearly so, for every other offence. 22.28Now just suppose that a man, instead of rebutting the charge of crime or impiety or whatever else he may be tried for, should claim his acquittal on these grounds-in the case of an arrest, that you might have brought an action before an arbitrator and that you ought to have indicted him, or, if he is defendant in an arbitrator's court, that you ought to have arrested him, so that you might risk a fine of a thousand drachmas. Surely that would be a farce. A defendant, if innocent, need not dispute the method by which he is brought.to justice: he ought to prove hat he is innocent. 22.29In just the same way, if you, Androtion, propose a decree after having been guilty of prostitution, do not imagine that you ought to escape punishment because we might also have denounced you to the Thesmothetae, but either prove that you are innocent or submit to punishment for any decrees that you have proposed, being what you are; or you have no right to propose them. If we do not punish you by every process that the laws allow, be grateful to us for those that we omit: do not on that ground claim to pay no penalty at all.
22.30Now it is worth your while, men of
22.33Again, with regard to the law which forbids him to speak or move resolutions, because his father owed money to the exchequer and has never paid it, you have a fair and reasonable answer to him, if he says that we ought to have laid an information against him. We will do that later, certainly not now, Androtion, when you have to render an account of your other crimes, but when it is proper to do so according to the law. For the present, we are content to prove that the law does not permit you to move resolutions, not even such as every other citizen may move. 22.34Prove, therefore, that your father was not a defaulter, or that he left the prison, not by running away, but by paying his debts. If you cannot prove that, then you had no right to move your resolution; for the law makes you a partner in the disqualification of your father, and being disqualified you had no right either to speak or move. Also with regard to the laws which we have cited in court, I think that if he tries to cheat and mislead you, gentlemen, you must give him the reply that I have indicated.
22.35On other points also he has arguments admirably calculated to deceive you, and it is better that you should be told of them beforehand. One of them runs like this: “Do not steal the reward from five hundred of yourselves, nor involve them in disgrace; they are on their trial, not I.” But, had you been going to deprive them of something without otherwise benefiting the State, I should not have asked you to show any great keenness in the matter; but if by this action you are going to convert more than ten thousand others into better citizens, what a far finer thing it is to make so many men honest than to confer an unjust favour on five hundred. 22.36But I am in a position to assert that the question does not concern the whole Council, but only Androtion and some others, who are the cause of the mischief. For should the Council receive no crown, who suffers disgrace, if he makes no speech and moves no resolution himself, and perhaps even does not attend most of the meetings? No one surely. The disgrace attaches to him who moves resolutions and meddles with politics and tries to impose his wishes on the Council; because it is through such men that the deliberations of the Council have proved undeserving of the crown. 22.37And yet, even if we grant freely that the whole Council is on its trial, reflect how much more advantage you will gain if you condemn Androtion, than if you do not. If you acquit him, the talkers will rule in the Council chamber, but if you convict him, the ordinary members. For when the majority see that they have lost the crown through the misconduct of the orators, they will not leave the transaction of business in their hands, but will depend on themselves for the best advice. If this comes to pass, and if you are once rid of the old gang of orators, then, men of
22.38Now attend to another point that must not escape you. Perhaps Philippus will get up and defend the Council; perhaps too Antigenes and the checking-clerk note and some others, who along with the defendant kept the Council-chamber as their private preserve, and who are the cause of the present discontents. Now you must all observe that their pretence is that they are supporting the cause of the Council, but really they will be fighting for their own interests, to support the audit which they have to render of their official acts. 22.39For the case stands thus. If you dismiss this impeachment, they are all acquitted and not a single one of them will pay the penalty, for who henceforth would give his verdict against them when you have crowned the Council of which they were the leading spirits? But if you convict, in the first place you will have kept your judicial oath; and further, when you have each of these men before you at their audit, anyone whom you think guilty you will punish; and anyone who is not, then will be the time to acquit him. Do not, therefore, accept their words as spoken on behalf of the Council and of the general public, but be incensed against them as impostors defending their own interests.
22.40Again, I expect that Archias, of the deme of Cholargas,—for he too was a Councillor last year-will plead on their behalf in his character of respectable citizen. But I suggest that you should meet his plea in some such way as this. Ask him whether the conduct with which the Council are charged seems to him honorable or the reverse, and if he says “honorable,” pay him no longer the attention due to a respectable man; if he says “dishonorable,” ask him a second question: why did he let it pass, if he claims to be a respectable man? 22.41If he says that he spoke against it but could persuade no one, surely it is ridiculous for him now to defend this Council that rejected all his excellent advice; but if he says that he held his tongue, is he not guilty of an injustice if he neglected his chance of dissuading them from the offence they were contemplating, and yet ventures now to say that having actually done so much evil they deserve to be crowned?
22.42I expect too that Androtion will not refrain from pleading that all this has come upon him because of his success in collecting on your behalf large arrears of taxes, which a few citizens (so he will tell you) shamelessly neglected to pay; and he will denounce these men—undertaking an easy task, I think—[for not paying their property-tax], and will prophesy complete impunity for all who do not pay, if you give your verdict against him. 22.43But I must first ask you, men of
22.47I desire also to subject the politics of this honorable gentleman to a scrutiny, from which it will be clear that he has not stopped short of the utmost limits of depravity; for I shall prove him to be shameless and reckless, a thief and a bully, fit for anything rather than to play a public part in a democracy. And first of all let us examine this levying of taxes, on which he chiefly prides himself. Without paying any attention to his boasts, let us look at the facts in their true light. 22.48He said that Euctemon was retaining your taxes, and he undertook to prove the charge or pay the sum out of his own pocket. On that pretext he got you to vote for the dismissal of an official appointed by lot, and so wormed his way into a collectorship. He delivered sundry harangues on the subject, telling you that you had a choice of three courses, either to break up the sacred plate, or to impose a fresh tax, or to squeeze the money out of the defaulters; and you naturally chose the last. 22.49Having you under his thumb, thanks to his promises, and having liberty of action owing to the state of affairs at the time, he did not think it necessary to employ the existing laws for his purpose, nor to make new laws, if he considered the old ones inadequate; but he proposed in your Assembly monstrous and unconstitutional decrees, by means of which he created a job for himself and has stolen a great deal that belongs to you, putting in a clause that the Eleven should attend on him. 22.50Then, with the Eleven, he led the way to the homes of his fellow-citizens. Against Euctemon he could prove nothing, though he had said that he would get the taxes out of him or pay them himself; but it was from you that he levied them, as if his motive was hostility, not to Euctemon, but to you. 22.51Let no one understand me to say that the money ought not to have been wrung from the defaulters. It ought; but how? Even as the law enjoins, for the benefit of the other citizens. That is the spirit of democracy. For what you, men of
22.59Now that these are serious offences, contrary to every statute, he will not be able to deny; but he is so impudent that in the Assembly, contriving always an anticipation of his defence against this indictment, he dared to say that it was in your interests and for your sake that he had drawn down enmity on himself and was now in desperate peril. But I want to prove to you, men of
22.65 note However, I will make it quite clear to you without more ado that he did not carry out these exactions for your benefit at all. If he were asked whether, in his opinion, the greater injury is done to the common wealth 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 his hardihood, he 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. 22.66What is the reason, you abominable wretch, that though you have taken part in public life for more than thirty years, and 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 slipped away into exile, you never once appeared as prosecutor of any of them or expressed any indignation at the wrongs of the city, bold and clever speaker though you are, but made your first exhibition of anxiety for our welfare on an occasion that called for harsh treatment of a great many people? 22.67Do you wish me to tell you the reason, men of
22.69Yes, it may be said, this is the sort of man he was in his public conduct, but there are other things which he has managed with credit. On the contrary, in every respect his behavior towards his fellow-citizens has been such that the story you have heard is the least of the reasons you have for hating him. What do you wish me to mention? How he “repaired” the processional ornaments? How he broke up the crowns? His success as a manufacturer of saucers? Why, for those performances alone, though he had committed no other fraud on the city, it seems to me he deserves not one but three sentences of death; for he is guilty of sacrilege, of impiety, of embezzlement, of every monstrous crime. 22.70The greater part of the speech by which he 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. And 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; one and the same man was orator, goldsmith, business manager, and auditor of accounts. 22.71Now 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. 22.72Again, men of
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