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Against Androtion

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 Athens, and has devoted all his life to that one study. Therefore, that you may not be deceived and persuaded to vote contrary to the spirit of your oath and to acquit a man whom you have every reason to punish, pray attend to what I shall say, so that when you have heard me, you may have the right reply to every argument that he will advance.

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 Athens, to prevent the possibility of the people being influenced or misled. The legislator held that the question should not depend on the abilities of the speakers, but that whatever he could devise that was at once just and expedient for the people, should be fixed by law. “You have not built the ships? Then don't ask for the reward.” Where the law does not permit the asking, does it not absolutely forbid the giving?

22.12Now there is another question, men of Athens, which is worth going into. Why is it that when the Council have performed all their other duties satisfactorily, and no one has any complaint to make, yet, if they have not built the ships, they are not allowed to ask for the reward? You will find that this stringent enactment is in the interests of the people. For I suppose no one would deny that all that has happened to our city, in the past or in the present, whether good or otherwise—I avoid an unpleasant term—has resulted in the one case from the possession, and in the other from the want, of warships. 22.13Many instances might be given, ancient and modern, but of those that are most familiar to your ears, take if you please this. The men who built the Propylaea and the Parthenon, and decked our other temples with the spoils of Asia, trophies in which we take a natural pride,—you know of course from tradition that after they abandoned the city and shut themselves up in Salamis, it was because they had the war galleys that they won the sea-fight and saved the city and all their belongings, and made themselves the authors for the rest of the Greeks of many great benefits, of which not even time can ever obliterate the memory. 22.14Well, you say, but that is ancient history. But take something that you have all seen. You know that lately you sent help to the Euboeans within three days and got rid of the Thebans by an armistice. note Could you have done all this so promptly, if you had not had new vessels to convey your force? You would have found it impossible. Many other successes might be mentioned that have resulted from our being provided with these ships in sound condition. 22.15Yes, and how many disasters from unsound ships? I will pass over most of them; but in the Decelean war note—I am reminding you of a bit of old history which you all know better than I do—though many serious disasters befell our city, she did not succumb till her fleet was destroyed. But why need me cite ancient instances? You know how it stood with our city in the last war with the Lacedaemonians note when it seemed unlikely that you could dispatch a fleet. You know that vetches were sold for food. But when you did dispatch it, you obtained peace on your own terms. 22.16Therefore, men of Athens, seeing that warships have such weight in either scale, you nave done rightly to set this strict limit to the Council's claim to the reward. For if they should discharge all their other duties satisfactorily, but fail to build these ships, by which we gained our power at the first and by which we retain it today, all their other services are of no avail, for it is the safety of the whole State that must be ensured for the people before every thing. Now the defendant is so obsessed with the idea that he can make any speech or proposal he wishes, that though the Council has discharged its other duties in the way that you have heard, but has not built the warships, he moved to grant them their reward.

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 Athens, will deliver to you the ships duly built, because they will see that in your eyes everything else is of less consequence than the law. Now I shall show you clearly that no other human being is responsible for the shortage of ships; for the Council, having made the law null and void, elected this treasurer themselves. note

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 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 Athens, to study too the character of Solon, who framed this law, and to observe what care he took of the constitution in all the laws, how much more zealous indeed he was for the constitution than for the matter on which he was legislating. This may be seen in many ways, but especially from this law, which forbids persons guilty of prostitution to make speeches or to propose measures. For he saw that the majority of you do not avail yourselves of your right to speak, so that the prohibition seemed no great hardship, and he could have laid down many harsher penalties, if his object had been the chastisement of these offenders. 22.31But that was not his aim; he imposed this disability in the interests of you and of the State, for he knew—I say, he knew that of all states the most antagonistic men of infamous habits is that in which every man is at liberty to publish their shame. And what state is that? A democracy. He thought it would be dangerous if there ever happened to coexist a considerable number of men who were bold and clever speakers, but tainted with such disgraceful wickedness. 22.32For the people may be led astray by them to make many mistakes, and such men may attempt either to overthrow the democracy completely,—for in an oligarchy, even if there are viler livers than Androtion, no one may speak evil of dignities—or to debauch the people, so that they may be as nearly as possible like themselves. He therefore absolutely forbade such men to take any share in the counsels of the State, lest the people should be deluded into some error. Disregarding all this, our honorable gentleman here thought fit not only to make speeches and proposals, though not entitled to do so, but even ventured to make illegal ones.

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 Athens, you will see everything done as it ought to be. For this, if for no other, reason you ought to convict.

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 Athens, to reflect that the question you are sworn to decide is not this, but whether his proposal was in accordance with the laws. Next reflect that it is outrageous in one who charges others with violating the constitution to claim exemption from punishment for his own more serious violations; because it is obviously more serious to propose an unconstitutional decree than to fail to pay the property-tax. 22.44Then even if it were certain that after this man's conviction no one would pay the tax or be willing to collect it, even so you must not acquit him, as you will see from this consideration. Upon the property-taxes from the archonship of Nausinicus—say three hundred talents or a trifle more note—you have a deficit of fourteen talents, of which he levied seven; but I am assuming that he levied the whole amount. Now you do not need Androtion to deal with the willing payers, but with the defaulters. 22.45So you have now to consider whether that is the value that you put on the constitution, the existing laws, and your regard for your oath;for if you acquit him, though his proposal was manifestly illegal, everyone will conclude that you have preferred this sum of money to the laws and to your good faith. Why, even if a man gave you this sum out of his own pocket, it would not be worth taking, much less if it has to be exacted from others. 22.46Therefore, when he uses this argument, remember your oath, and reflect that this indictment concerns not the collection of taxes, but the sovereignty of the laws. And as to all this—how he will try to hoodwink you by distracting you from the subject of this law, and what points you must bear in mind so as not to give way to him—though I might say more on these subjects, I will refrain, as I think that this will suffice.

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 Athens, have gained by the exaction of such paltry sums of money in this way, is nothing to what you have lost by the introduction of such habits into political life. If you care to inquire why a man would sooner live under a democracy than under an oligarchy, you will find that most obvious reason is that in a democracy everything is more easy-going. 22.52I shall not, then, trouble to show that the defendant has proved himself more brutal than any oligarchy anywhere in the world. But here, in our own city, at what period were the most outrageous things done? You will all say, “Under the Thirty Tyrants.” Now under the Thirty, as we are informed, no man forfeited the power to save his life who could hide himself at home; what we denounce the Thirty for is that they arrested men illegally in the market-place. This man displayed a brutality so far in excess of theirs that he, a public man under a democracy, turned every man's private house into a jail by conducting the Eleven into your homes. 22.53But what do you think of this, Athenians? What if a poor man, or a rich man for that matter who has spent much money and is naturally perhaps rather short of cash, should have to climb over the roof to a neighbor's house or creep under bed, to avoid being caught and dragged off to jail, or should degrade himself in some other fashion, fit for slaves and not for freemen, and should be seen thus acting by his own wife, whom he espoused as a freeman and a citizen of our state? And what if the cause of all this was Androtion, a man who is debarred by his own conduct and mode of life from seeking redress for himself, much more for the State? 22.54Yet if he were asked whether the taxes are due from our property or from our persons, he would admit, if he cared to speak the truth, that they are due from our property; it is from property that our contributions come. Then why did you drop the sequestration and scheduling of lands and houses, and proceed to imprison and insult Athenian citizens and the unfortunate resident aliens, whom you have treated with more insolence than your own slaves? 22.55Indeed, if you wanted to contrast the slave and the freeman, you would find the most important distinction in the fact that slaves are responsible in person for all offences, while freemen, even in the most unfortunate circumstances, can protect their persons. For it is in the shape of money that in the majority of cases the law must obtain satisfaction from them; but Androtion on the contrary exacted vengeance from their persons, as if they had been bond-slaves. 22.56So corrupt and selfish was his attitude towards you that he thought that his own father, imprisoned by the State for moneys due, had a right to escape, without payment and without trial, but that any other citizen, not having the means to pay, might be dragged from his own home to prison. And then, on the top of all this, as though he could do whatever he liked, he distrained upon Sinope and Phanostrate, who were prostitutes certainly, but owed no property-tax. 22.57Should anyone possibly think that those women were fitting people to suffer, yet assuredly it was not a fitting procedure—that men should be so puffed up by a chance opportunity as to march into houses and carry off the furniture of people who are not in debt. For one could point to many who are and have been “fitting persons” for such treatment. But surely such is not the language of the statutes or of the principles of the constitution, which it is your duty to uphold. In them we find pity, pardon, everything that becomes free citizens. 22.58To all such feelings the defendant is of course a stranger by birth and breeding. Many are the outrages and insults that he has had to submit to when consorting with men who had no love for him but could pay his price. For such insults, Androtion, it would have been right to vent your spite, not on the next citizen you meet, not on the women who follow your own profession, but on the father who gave you such a bringing up.

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 Athens, that he has never suffered, nor is likely to suffer, any inconvenience at all through his services to you, but that for his abominable and monstrous wickedness he has hitherto not paid the penalty, but will pay it now, if you on your part do what is right. 22.60Consider this point. What did he undertake to do for you, and what did you appoint him to do? To collect moneys. Anything else besides? Not a single thing! Very well; I will remind you of the items of his accounts. He collected from Leptines of Coele thirty-four drachmas, from Theoxenus of Alopece seventy drachmas or a trifle more, and from Callicrates, the son of Eupherus, and from the young son of Telestes, whose name I cannot give you—but without going into details, of all those from whom he collected money, I doubt if anyone owed more than a mina. 22.61Then do you suppose that all these men are his inveterate enemies merely because he collected this money from them? Is it not rather because he said of one of them, in the hearing of all of you in the Assembly, that he was a slave and born of slaves and ought by rights to pay the contribution of one-sixth with the resident aliens note; and of another that he had children by a harlot; of this man that his father had prostituted himself; of that man that his mother had been on the streets; that he was making an inventory of one man's peculations from the start of his career, that another had done this or that, and that a third had committed every conceivable crime—slandering them all in turn? 22.62I feel sure that of all whom he has abused in his cups, each one looked upon the tax as a necessary item of expenditure, but has been deeply wounded by all these indignities and insults. I feel sure too that he was elected by you to collect money due, and not to reproach every man with his private misfortunes and so make them public. For if the charges were true, Androtion (and we all have our undesirable experiences), you had no right to publish them; and if you invented them without any authority, is any punishment too light for you? 22.63Here is yet another proof that will convince you that they all hate him, not because of the collection, but for his acts of drunken insolence. Satyrus, the superintendent of the dock-yards, collected for you not seven, but thirty-four talents from these very same men, and used the money to equip the ships that were put in commission; and he can tell you that he has made no enemies in consequence, and that none of those from whom he levied the taxes is at open war with him. Naturally! He, I suppose, simply discharged the duty assigned to him, but you in your wanton, headstrong effrontery, being armed with authority, thought fit to terse with foul and lying reproaches men who had spent large sums on the State, better men than yourself and of better birth. 22.64After this, are the jury to believe that you did it all for their sakes? Are they to make themselves responsible for your acts of callous wickedness? They ought in justice to detest you all the more for this rather than protect you. For the man who is acting for the State ought to imitate the spirit of the State, and you, Athenians, ought to encourage such men and hate men like the defendant. For though you are probably aware of it, I must none the less tell you this: whatever sort of men you are seen to honor and protect, you will be thought to be like them yourselves.

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 Athens? [He has his share in the proceeds of certain iniquities, and he also gets his pickings from the collection of revenue. In his insatiable greed he reaps a double harvest from the State. Now 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. However, the reason is what I am telling you.] He knows indeed that he is one of them, one of the criminals, but he thought you beneath his notice; and that was why he treated you in this way. 22.68If you had confessed, men of Athens, that you are a nation of slaves and not of men who claim empire over others, you would never have put up with the insults which he repeatedly offered you in the marketplace, binding and arresting aliens and citizens alike, bawling from the platform in the Assembly, calling men slaves and slave-born who were better men than himself and of better birth, and asking if the jail was built for no object. I should certainly say it was, if your father danced his way out of it, fetters and all, at the procession of the Dionysia. All his other outrages it would be impossible to relate; they are too numerous. For all of them taken together you must exact vengeance today, and make an example of him to teach the rest to behave with more restraint.

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 Athens, consider those glorious and enviable 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 to the Athenian People for valor and righteousness,” or “The Allies to the Goddess of Athens, a prize of victory”; or, from the several states of the alliance, “Such-and-such a City to the People by whom they were delivered,” or, “The liberated Euboeans,” for example, “crown the People”; or again, “Conon from the sea-fight with the Lacedaemonians.” Such, I say, were the inscriptions of the crowns. 22.73They 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 the name of a man whom the laws forbid to enter our temples in person because of his prostitution, has been inscribed on the cups in those temples. Just like the old inscriptions, is it not? and an equal incentive to ambition? 22.74[You 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. After this long series of evil deeds they have grown so callous and so audacious that they recall those crimes as admirable examples of their administration, so 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.] 22.75Not 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, how ever small, implies the same regard for honor as if it were large. that drinking-cups and censers, if very numerous, attach to their owners a sort of reputation for wealth, but that, 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, has destroyed the possessions of honor, and made the possessions of wealth mean and unworthy of your dignity. 22.76There 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 Propylaea, 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, Androtion, will propose to melt down again, whenever the whim takes you. 22.77To 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 market-place men whose habits of life were what yours have always been. 22.78But 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 sacred 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.

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