Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
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3.15

What is it that the law commands these men to do? Not to “serve,” but “after approval by the court [Note] to hold office” (for even the officers who are selected by lot are not exempt from the scrutiny, but hold their office only after approval); “and to submit their accounts before the clerk and board of auditors,” precisely as other officers are required to do. As proof of the truth of my statement, the laws themselves shall be read to you.Laws

3.16

When, therefore, fellow citizens, what the lawgiver names “offices,” they call “employments” and “commissions,” it is your duty to remember the law, and to set it against their shamelessness, and to remind them that you refuse to accept a rascally sophist, who expects to destroy the laws with phrases; but that when a man has made an illegal motion, the more cleverly he talks, the more angry will he find you. For by right, fellow citizens, the orator and the law ought to speak the same language; but when the law utters one voice and the orator another, you ought to give your vote to the just demand of the law, not to the shamelessness of the speaker.

3.17

But now to “the irrefutable argument,” as Demosthenes calls it, I wish to reply briefly in advance. For he will say, “I am in charge of the construction of walls; I admit it; but I have made a present of a hundred minas to the state, and I have carried out the work on a larger scale than was prescribed; what then is it that you want to audit? unless a man's patriotism is to be audited!” Now to this pretext hear my answer, true to the facts and beneficial to you.

In this city, so ancient and so great, no man is free from the audit who has held any public trust.

3.18

I will first cite cases where this would be least expected. For example, the law directs that priests and priestesses be subject to audit, all collectively, and each severally and individually—persons who receive perquisites only, and whose occupation is to pray to heaven for you; and they are made accountable not only separately, but whole priestly, families together, the Eumolpidae, the Ceryces, and all the rest.

3.19

Again, the law directs that the trierarchs be subject to audit, though they have had no public funds in their hands, and though they are not men who filch large sums from your treasury and pay out small ones, and not men who claim to be making donations when they are only paying back what is your own, but men who are acknowledged by all to have spent their family fortunes in their ambition to serve you.

Furthermore, not the trierarchs alone, but also the highest bodies in the state, come under the verdict of the courts of audit.

3.20

For, first, the Senate of the Areopagus is required by the law to file its accounts with the Board of Auditors and to submit to their examination; yes, even those men, who sit with solemn aspect yonder as the court of highest competence, are brought under your verdict. Shall the Senate of the Areopagus, then, receive no crown? They shall not, for such is not the tradition of our fathers. Have they, then, no love of honor? Indeed they have! They so love honor that they are not satisfied with merely keeping free from guilt, but they punish their members even for mistakes. But your politicians are pampered. Further, the lawgiver has made the Senate of Five Hundred subject to audit.

3.21

And so deep is his distrust of those who are subject to audit, that he says at the very beginning of the laws, “The officer who has not yet submitted his accounts shall not leave the country?” “Heracles !” some one may answer, “because I held an office may I not leave the country?” No, for fear you may make profit of the public money or the public acts, and then run away. Furthermore, the man who is subject to audit is not allowed to consecrate his property, or to make a votive offering, or to receive adoption, [Note] or to dispose of his property by will and he is under many other prohibitions. In a word, the lawgiver holds under attachment the property of all who are subject to audit, until their accounts shall have been audited.

3.22

“Yes, but there is a man who has received no public funds and spent none, but has simply had something to do with administrative matters.” He too is commanded to render account to the auditors. “And how shall the man who has received nothing and spent nothing render account to the state?” The law itself suggests and teaches what he is to write; for it commands him to file precisely this statement, “I have neither received nor spent any public funds.” There is nothing in all the state that is exempt from audit, investigation, and examination. As proof of what I say, hear the laws themselves.Laws

3.23

So when Demosthenes at the height of his impudence shall say that because the money was a gift he is not subject to audit, suggest this to him: was it not, then, your duty, Demosthenes, to allow the herald of the Board of Auditors to make this proclamation, sanctioned by law and custom, “Who wishes to prefer charges?” Let any citizen who wishes have the opportunity to claim that you have given nothing, but that from the large sums under your control you have spent a mere trifle on the repair of the walls, whereas you have received ten talents from the city for this work. Do not grab honor; do not snatch the jurors' ballots from their hands; do not in your political career go before the laws, but follow them. For so is the democracy upheld.



Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
<<Aeschin. 3.10 Aeschin. 3.18 (Greek) >>Aeschin. 3.27

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