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Demosthenes   


or possibility of prevailing, I cannot believe that three thousand
drachmas could have taken off the edge of his revenge. The object
which he chose for himself in the commonwealth was noble and just,
the defence of the Grecians against Philip; and in this he behaved
himself so worthily that he soon grew famous, and excited attention
everywhere for his eloquence and courage in speaking. He was admired
through all Greece, the King of Persia courted him, and by Philip
himself he was more esteemed than all the other orators. His very
enemies were forced to confess that they had to do with a man of mark;
for such a character even Aeschines and Hyperides give him, where
they accuse and speak against him.
So that I cannot imagine what ground Theopompus had to say that Demosthenes
was of a fickle, unsettled disposition, and could not long continue
firm either to the same men or the same affairs; whereas the contrary
is most apparent, for the same party and post in politics which he
held from the beginning, to these he kept constant to the end; and
was so far from leaving them while he lived that he chose rather to
forsake his life than his purpose. He was never heard to apologize
for shifting sides like Demades, who would say he often spoke against
himself, but never against the city; nor as Melanopus, who being generally
against Callistratus, but being often bribed off with money, was wont
to tell the people, "The man indeed is my enemy, but we must submit
for the good of our country;" nor again as Nicodemus, the Messenian,
who having first appeared on Cassander's side, and afterwards taken
part with Demetrius, said the two things were not in themselves contrary,
it being always most advisable to obey the conqueror. We have nothing
of this kind to say against Demosthenes, as one who would turn aside
or prevaricate, either in word or deed. There could not have been
less variation in his public acts if they had all been played, so
to say, from first to last, from the same score. Panaetius, the philosopher,
said that most of his orations are so written as if they were to prove
this one conclusion, that what is honest and virtuous is for itself
only to be chosen; as that of the Crown, that against Aristocrates,
that for the Immunities, and the Philippics; in all which he persuades
his fellow-citizens to pursue not that which seems most pleasant,
easy, or profitable; but declares, over and over again, that they
ought in the first place to prefer that which is just and honourable
before their own safety and preservation. So that if he had kept his
hands clean, if his courage for the wars had been answerable to the
generosity of his principles, and the dignity of his orations, he
might deservedly have his name placed, not in the number of such orators
as Moerocles, Polyeuctus, and Hyperides, but in the highest rank with
Cimon, Thucydides, and Pericles.
Certainly amongst those who were contemporary with him, Phocion, though
he appeared on the less commendable side in the commonwealth, and
was counted as one of the Macedonian party, nevertheless, by his courage
and his honesty, procured himself a name not inferior to these of
Ephialtes, Aristides, and Cimon. But Demosthenes, being neither fit
to be relied on for courage in arms, as Demetrius says, nor on all
sides inaccessible to bribery (for how invincible soever he was against
the gifts of Philip and the Macedonians, yet elsewhere he lay open
to assault, and was overpowered by the gold which came down from Susa
and Ecbatana), was therefore esteemed better able to recommend than
to imitate the virtues of past times. And yet (excepting only Phocion),
even in his life and manners, he far surpassed the other orators of
his time. None of them addressed the people so boldly; he attacked
the faults, and opposed himself to the unreasonable desires of the
multitude, as may be seen in his orations. Theopompus writes, that
the Athenians having by name selected Demosthenes, and called upon
him to accuse a certain person, he refused to do it; upon which the
assembly being all in an uproar, he rose up and said, "Your counsellor,
whether you will or no, O ye men of Athens, you shall always have
me; but a sycophant or false accuser, though you would have me, I
shall never be." And his conduct in the case of Antiphon was perfectly

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