Aeschines, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [Aeschin.].
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I say this, not to accuse or blame them, but because I wish to show you this: that while the lawgiver, in case any one is subject to audit for a single office—though it be the least—does not permit him to be crowned until lie has rendered his account and submitted to audit, Ctesiphon did not hesitate to move to crown Demosthenes, who was holding all the offices in Athens at once.


Furthermore I will present to you Demosthenes himself as witness to the fact that at the time when Ctesiphon made his motion, Demosthenes was holding the office of Commissioner for the Repair of Walls, and so was handling public funds, imposing fines like the other magistrates, and privileged to preside in court. [Note] For in the archonship of Chaerondas, on the last day but one of Thargelion, [Note] Demosthenes made a motion in the assembly that on the second and third days of Skirophorion assemblies of the tribes be held; and he directed in his decree that men be chosen from each tribe as superintendents and treasurers for the work upon the walls; and very properly, that the city might have responsible persons upon whom to call for an accounting of the money spent. Please read the decree.Decree


Yes, but he immediately tries to wriggle out of this by saying that it was not the people who elected him, or appointed him by lot, as Commissioner of Walls. On this point Demosthenes and Ctesiphon will argue at length. But the law is brief and clear and it makes short work of their devices. I wish first to speak to you briefly about this.


There are, fellow citizens, three classes of public officers. The first and most obvious class are all who are appointed by lot or by election; the second class are those who administer some public business for more than thirty days, and the Commissioners of Public Works; but third it stands written in the law that if any others receive presidencies of courts, [Note] they also shall “hold office on passing their scrutiny.”


Now when you subtract those officials who are chosen by popular election and those appointed by lot, there remain those whom the tribes, the trittyes, [Note] and the demes appoint from among their own number to administer public funds. This happens when, as in the present case, some work is assigned to the several tribes, like the digging of trenches or the building of triremes. That what I say is true, you shall learn from the laws themselves.Laws


Recall now what has been said: the lawgiver directs that after approval in court [Note] those appointed by the tribes shall “hold office”; but the tribe Pandionis appointed Demosthenes an “officer,” a Builder of Walls; and he has received for this work from the general treasury nearly ten talents. Another law forbids crowning an official before he has rendered his accounts, and you have sworn to vote according to the laws; but yonder politician has moved to crown the man who has not yet rendered his accounts, and he has not added “when he shall have rendered account and submitted to audit” and I convict him of the unlawful act, bringing as my witnesses the laws, the decrees, and the defendants. How could one more clearly prove that a man has made an unlawful motion?


Furthermore, I will show you that the proclamation of the crown, as proposed in his decree, is to be made in an illegal manner. For the law expressly commands that if the Senate confer a crown, the crown shall be proclaimed in the senate-house, and if the people confer it, in the assembly, “and nowhere else.” Read me the law.Law


This, fellow citizens, is an excellent law. For it seems that it was the idea of the lawgiver that the public man ought not to be thinking of outsiders as he receives his honors, but to be well content with honor received in the city itself and from the people; and that he ought not to treat such proclamations as a source of revenue. So thought the lawgiver. But Ctesiphon how? Read his decree.Decree


You hear, fellow citizens, how the lawgiver commands that the man who is crowned by the people be proclaimed among the people, on the Pnyx, at a meeting of the assembly, “and nowhere else”; but Ctesiphon, in the theater—not only overriding the laws but also changing the place; not when the Athenians are in assembly, but when tragedies are being performed; not in the presence of the people, but in the presence of the Hellenes, that they also may know what sort of man we honor.

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