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The First Philippic   


such an armament. For it is impossible--ay, impossible, for one man to
execute all your wishes: to promise, [Footnote: Chares is particularly
alluded to. The "promises of Chares" passed into a proverb.] and assert,
and accuse this or that person, is possible; but so your affairs are
ruined. The general commands wretched unpaid hirelings; here are persons
easily found, who tell you lies of his conduct; you vote at random from
what you hear: what then can be expected?

How is this to cease, Athenians? When you make the same persons
soldiers, and witnesses of the generals conduct, and judges when they
return home at his audit; [Footnote: The audit or scrutiny of his
conduct which every officer of the republic had to undergo, before a
jury, if necessary, at the end of his administration. In the case of a
general, the scrutiny would be like a court-martial. The Athenian
people, (says Demosthenes,) as represented by the citizen soldiers,
would themselves be witnesses of the general's conduct. These same
soldiers, when they came home, or at least a portion of them, might
serve on the jury; and so the people would be both witnesses and
judges.] so that you may not only hear of your own affairs, but be
present to see them. So disgraceful is our condition now, that every
general is twice or thrice tried [Footnote: Chares was tried several
times. Capital charges were preferred also against Autocles,
Cephisodotus, Leosthenes, Callisthenes.] before you for his life, though
none dares even once to hazard his life against the enemy: they prefer
the death of kidnappers and thieves to that which becomes them; for it
is a malefactor's part to die by sentence of the law, a general's to die
in battle. Among ourselves, some go about and say that Philip is
concerting with the Lacedaemonians the destruction of Thebes and the
dissolution of republics; some, that he has sent envoys to the king;
[Footnote: The king of Persia, generally called _the king_ by the
Greeks.] others, that he is fortifying cities in Illyria: so we wander
about, each inventing stories. For my part, Athenians, by the gods I
believe, that Philip is intoxicated with the magnitude of his exploits,
and has many such dreams in his imagination, seeing the absence of
opponents, and elated by success; but most certainly he has no such plan
of action, as to let the silliest people among us know what his
intentions are; for the silliest are these newsmongers. Let us dismiss
such talk, and remember only that Philip is an enemy, who robs us of our
own and has long insulted us; that wherever we have expected aid from
any quarter, it has been found hostile, and that the future depends on
ourselves, and unless we are willing to fight him there, we shall
perhaps be compelled to fight here. This let us remember, and then we
shall have determined wisely, and have done with idle conjectures. You
need not pry into the future, but assure yourselves it will be
disastrous, unless you attend to your duty, and are willing to act as
becomes you.

As for me, never before have I courted favor, by speaking what I am not
convinced is for your good, and now I have spoken my whole mind frankly
and unreservedly. I could have wished, knowing the advantage of good
counsel to you, I were equally certain of its advantage to the
counselor: so should I have spoken with more satisfaction. Now, with an
uncertainty of the consequence to myself, but with a conviction that you
will benefit by adopting it, I proffer my advice. I trust only, that
what is most for the common benefit will prevail.

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